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Digital & social media campaign : Organ Donation Scotland

Turning game-changing insights into a life-saving campaign.

Award | StoryUK
Marketing Star Gold Award winner x 2
Award | StoryUK
DADI Gold Award winner x 2

Scottish Government


Public Sector / Health


December 2015-January 2016

How come, with over 2 million Scots on the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR), people on the transplant waiting list are still dying? That's the question we and the Scottish Government found ourselves wrestling with in 2015.

It isn't because people aren't in favour of organ donation in principle. But the circumstances for donating are very specific. You have to die in intensive care – and only about 500 people do so every year. That's a pretty small pool.

And if families don't give permission – understandable in their grief and without always knowing what their loved one wanted – the pool becomes even smaller.

So it turned out that 2 million names on the ODR wasn't nearly enough. The Scottish Government urgently needed our help to increase registrations.

Game-changing insights

Increase registrations, save lives. So far, so simple. However, we found ourselves juggling some potentially conflicting insights.

  1. people are warmer to the idea of organ donation at family-orientated times of year, particularly Christmas.
  2. of those Scots who agreed with organ donation, but hadn't yet signed up, one of the most common reasons cited was they'd "just not got round to it".

Which led to one conclusion: we would go out at the busiest and noisiest time of year and ask people to do something they already hadn't found time to do. Oh, and do it on a fifth of the previous budget…

Good thing Story likes a challenge.

Organ Donation Organ Donation Organ Donation

Life-saving idea

Given our festive timing, the obvious thing would have been to give our campaign a 'gift' angle. But amid the clutter and cacophony of Christmas, gifting messages easily get lost.

So we didn't do the most obvious thing. We did the most effective thing.

We addressed – and then overcame – people's propensity for putting things off. By highlighting the short amount of time it takes to sign up to the ODR (i.e. 2 minutes) right alongside the huge impact that action could have on someone else's life (i.e. saving it).


Our film featured Tricia, a real mum of three who'd been waiting on a kidney transplant since 2011. And we asked her kids to do the VO – making it that bit harder to ignore their heartfelt appeal to #Take2Minutes and save a life.

Organ Donation
Organ Donation
Organ Donation
Organ Donation

The results exceeded all expectations. On just one fifth of the media budget of the previous campaign, we delivered a massive increase in people joining the Organ Donor Register. And more people made their support for organ donation visible on social media.

And while we can’t say our campaign was directly responsible, we’re delighted to say that Tricia got her kidney transplant three months later…

The results
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I just want to add my personal thanks for all of the hard work that your team put in to the OD activity. It goes without saying that we could not have done this without you. You have all gone that extra mile to really make this activity count. It is greatly appreciated and makes all the difference.

Jill Walker, Head of Healthier Marketing, Scottish Government
Edinburgh Leisure
We have also delivered work like this for
  • Ardbeg
  • Edinburgh Leisure
  • Stoats
  • VELUX®
  • M&S Bank

All this work is making us hungry.

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