This is a truly amazing media campaign, not for its effectiveness, incredible results, and grand concept – though it impresses on all these fronts – but for its spirit. If it doesn’t move you, consult the nearest cardiologist immediately. This is a testament to the astonishing good that imaginative collaboration can yield.
Agency Ogilvy Brasil of São Paulo teamed with a Brazilian football team (meaning soccer, for us North Americans with two types of football), Sport Club Recife, to create the first football team organ donor cards. As part of the effort, the players came out onto the field of a huge match with patients in need. Fans unfurled a banner with the campaign message. And a stand was set up where fans could receive their organ donation cards. The results to date, according to a campaign synopsis:
- Over 51,000 organ donor cards and counting.
- Organ donation increased by 54% in a year, breaking a historic record.
- The waiting list for heart and corneal transplants in Recife was reduced to zero.
- We created a lifetime commitment between fans and the Sport Club Recife brand.
- Dozens of lives saved including all the patients featured in the campaign.
Immortal Fans, submitted as a Best Integrated Promotional Campaign entry, took home the the 2012 grand prix for the Promo & Activation Lions category at the latest Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which awards excellence in creative communications. Watch this moving video that captures the campaign in action below:
What makes this so good?
Immortal Fans seizes upon a great passion, energizing an already highly-invested base. It also gives people something bigger than themselves to participate in. It builds community within the community. It solves a huge problem – the family authorization needed for organ transplants in Brazil – in organic, imaginative fashion. So many donation drives falter. Efforts to create lasting branding fade quickly. In terms of concept, timing, placement, execution, lasting contribution – Immortal Fans wins on all accounts.
I confess an irrational resistance to organ donation as well as a deep-rooted cynicism toward all media campaigns (not to mention a healthy fear of impassioned football crowds). This project strikes to the heart, across all barriers. Let’s hope we all learn from the example.