May 19th, 2016
NHS Blood and Transplant Augmented Reality Campaign Gets Donations Flowing Using Digital Out of Home
  • Virtual blood donors witness life-saving transformation of patients before their eyes
  • Campaign features three people whose lives have been saved by transfusions

NHS Blood and Transplant has launched a new digital out of home campaign to highlight the life-saving power of blood donation.

The campaign, one of the winners of Ocean’s annual digital out of home competition, uses innovative augmented reality technology to encourage the public to offer a virtual blood donation via an iphone.

Created by creative agency 23red, ’See the power of blood donation’ is on Ocean Outdoor’s New Street screen in Birmingham from May 18 and on the Eat Street Screen at Westfield London from May 20.

Here’s how it worked

Experiential activity supports the campaign with advisors at both out of home locations signposting members of the public on how to register and become a blood donor.  

Virtual Blood Donation uses an AR app which is connected to an image on the large format screens featuring an empty blood bag and an ill patient. Visual recognition is used to detect a sticker on a participant’s arm which then overlays an AR needle, plaster and tube onto the participant’s arm. This triggers the blood bag on the screen to fill up and the virtual donor can watch as the image of the sick patient gradually returns to health.

It is the first time that an augmented reality app has been used to trigger animation on Ocean Outdoor’s large format screens. The app is hosted on Ocean’s high speed wifi network.

The campaign illustrates this with real life recipients whose lives have been saved by the actions and donations of others.  Featured on the two screens are Natasha (34), who required 44 units of blood and blood products when she suffered massive blood loss during the birth of her youngest son, Oliver. The others are Amit (30) and Shalona (28) who require regular blood transfusions for painful, life-threatening hereditary conditions.

The NHS Blood and Transplant digital out of home campaign is amplified through online and social activity including a Canvas advert for Facebook, sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and organic social activity. 

 NHS Blood and Transplant needs just under 200,000 people to start giving blood this year. They will replace those who, like Natasha, are no longer able to donate, those who can’t donate temporarily due to travel or other short term restrictions and also help ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to meet future patient needs. 

There is a particular need to attract more younger donors (from 17 years old) and people from black and South Asian communities. People from black and South Asian communities are more likely to have rarer blood types and conditions, like Sickle Cell Disease or Thalassaemia respectively, which require regular blood transfusions.


Ian Trenholm, chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “With just under 200,000 new donors needed every year, we need to find ways to show people the importance of blood donation. We hope that by getting people to give a virtual donation, we can get them thinking and explain what it takes to become a real life donor. The virtual experience gives an insight into the personal reward and satisfaction our loyal donors feel when they give blood and know they are saving lives. Each unit of blood donated can help save or improve the lives of up to three people.”

23red founding partner and creative director Sean Kinmont said: “This innovative use of media and technology really brings to life the power of a blood donation and shows donors and potential donors how their gift of blood can save and improve lives.”

Ocean head of marketing Helen Beacham said:  “The use of an augmented reality app via the phone for donation is superb. The creative mechanism of filling up the bag on the big out of home screen is simple and powerful.”

For more information on the Ocean Digital Creative Competition visit

The Screen @ New Street
Eat Street @ Westfield London

Ocean Networks

The location is available as part of a network, please see below for details.

Please contact us on [email protected] to find out more.