Cannes Lions

Missing Type

ENGINE, London / NHS / 2017

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Case Film






The idea was to remove the As Os and Bs—the letters of the main blood types— from society, visualising the fall in blood donation and creating a powerful call to action. It was a simple, disruptive creative that translated across languages and national boundaries. Removing the letters from signs and logos that were familiar to audiences at a local and global level would have immediate impact.

Our ambition was to create a simple inclusive movement where anyone, from individuals to global brands, could remove the letters from physical and commercial spaces, signs, logos and social media profiles, allowing the message to be easily understood, imitated and shared.

The simplicity of the creative idea was reflected in the success of the activation: minimal effort was required to create the desired disruption, message delivery and action, making it easy for thousands of individuals, influencers and brands to join the movement.


On August 16th, the letters A, B and O began to disappear from signs, logos and social media profiles in a domino effect across time zones.

Locations such as the Sydney Opera House, Tokyo Tower, Singapore Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain, Times Square, The New York Stock Exchange, London’s Abbey Road all lost letters from their signage, prompting over 1500 brands to join them via social their social media channels. From Google to Samsung to McDonalds to Microsoft to Santander to Coca-Cola.

At the same time, celebrities and influencers such as the cast of Australian soap Neighbours joined dozens of sports teams such as Arsenal, Cincinnati Bengals, Boston Red Sox and IFK Gothenburg to show their support through social media.

International news coverage exploded as support for the idea snowballed around the globe, while members of the public joined the movement with #MissingType user generated content across social media.


Over 1500 brands participated globally. And #MissingType was the number one Twitter trending topic in the UK and ten other countries above even the Olympics.

Over 3,100 pieces of coverage globally, with a combined reach of 1 billion.

54,000 mentions of #MissingType on social media.

Since then:

The campaign saw over 60,000 new blood donor registrations in participating nations.

These represented huge spikes in year on year or week on week registrations in partner nations such as England (60%); Belgium (+566%); Ireland (+460%); South Korea (+19%); Netherlands (+788%); Australia (+41%); U.S.A. (+21%); Canada (+20%); Switzerland (100%), New Zealand (189%) and Scotland (345%)

Fundamentally, our brief was a behaviour change one, so the fact that our campaign created a movement that directly resulted in record numbers of donor registrations is arguably the biggest gain for our UK based client. This is evidenced by the fact that the marketing spend per registration fell dramatically as a result of the campaign—from £34 per head to £6.25.

Not only did the campaign successfully change perceptions and behaviour, it also dramatically raised the profile of NHS Blood and Transplant in the marketing arena, inspiring other donor organisations all over the world to change their approach to blood donor recruitment.

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