Cannes Lions

A Bloody Nightmare

BBDO NEW YORK, New York / RED CROSS / 2023

Demo Film






Blood donations save lives, but a post-pandemic decline forced the American Red Cross to declare its first blood

shortage crisis in over a decade. The situation got so bad that doctors were being forced to decide which patients got

blood, and which didn’t. The ARC urgently needed to drive blood donations among the general population (35 to 54)

and first-time donors (18 to 34). The latter is a group that is notoriously fickle and difficult to galvanize. To attract

first-time donors, we needed to do something that would break into the cultural zeitgeist. As we looked at pop

culture, we realized that a lot of perfectly good blood is wasted in horror movies. And 50% of Americans love these

bloody films, yet only 3% donate blood. So, we teamed up with “Scream Queen” Neve Campbell to create a fun

PSA campaign that encourages viewers to help us change that statistic.


Our creative concept and color approach was inspired by the horror film genre. Each of the scenes in the film is

inspired by a specific decade and horror sub-genre. Color was paramount to convey this feeling. For example, inside

the house with Neve Campbell,the cold evening light helped to enhance the vulnerability of her character alone in her

home. In the zombie scene, the green hues enhance the more fantastical feeling of a zombie horror film. Our

characters’ vibrancy was also dialed up and grain texture was added to get the 16mm film look that some of the most

famous horror films have.


Our biggest objective was to combat a blood shortage, meaning we needed to get people to donate quickly, and we

did. Ultimately, The PSA compelled people to take action and donate. And not just anyone, reactivated donors

increased by 10% and first time donors increased by 6.2%, and total donors increased by 6.8% overall.

We also wanted to lift “willingness in likelihood to donate” among first-time donors by 5%, and we were

able to increase the number of potential donors in the next 3 months by 16%. Additionally, our current donors

increased their willingness in likelihood to donate by 6%.

The PSA delivered 183 million impressions and over 1.19 million engagements across social, paid social, media,

video, and PR. Our media efforts on NBC Peacock and Roku had huge returns, garnering a total of over 12 million

impressions on those platforms.

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