Region(s): Europe
Issue(s): Health
Author: Alberto Contri Sponsoring organization: NGO Organization(s): Fondazione Pubblicità Progresso
Agency: Not a single agency but a group of art-directors from different agencies were involved, each focusing on a specific field. Contact: Cecilia Bidorini c.bidorini@pubblicitaprogresso.org

Campaign Info

Scope of Good Practice

In this era of outstanding transformations experienced by the advertising sector, this campaign offers a new benchmark for social communication by incorporating the participation of a web audience, broadcasting videos, creating discussion groups and involving friends and acquaintances.

The Problem Addressed by the Campaign

The campaign’s topic is one of the most difficult to treat, for three main reasons:

  • It forces any donor to think about his or her possible premature death
  • A large quantity of information needs to be provided to the audience
  • Bureaucratic barriers formalize the decision to donate organs

Background Research

In order to have a better understanding of the current mindset about organ donation, the research institute GFK Eurisko conducted interviews and focus groups across geographic regions and social strata. The results showed many similarities in the perception of this practice: people associate organ donation with their own premature death, which causes superstitious prejudice about it in order to avoid bad luck.

Moreover, there was a general lack of information that lead to many doubts and questions, such as, “how could surgeons be sure that I’m definitely dead and that I have no possibility of waking up again over the next few hours?”


As a result of these research findings, the campaign strategy was focused on the possibility of giving a new life to someone, in order to maintain a positive message. The campaign drives viewers to the website to address questions and doubts. The website provides complete information about organ donation made by a scientific group of transplantation experts. When the idea of being a donor becomes real, the website provides the required documents and contact information.


The creative focuses on two men who do not know each other but that share a lot: their life. Two videos show a moving story of organ donation from two points of view: the view of a young man who makes the decision to become a donor, and the story of another man who lives thanks to his donation. The act of this donation is depicted through the metaphor of a harmonica, hidden in the sand by the first boy after playing the first notes of an Italian song entitled “You are Part of Me,” and found by the second man who plays the first notes of the same song.

The goal of the print creative was “making the organ donation cool.” Celebrities in the world of business, music, film, journalism, sports, research, fashion and design proudly show a big card from the Italian Association for the Donation of Organs and Tissues (AIDO), calling it "The card of the most prestigious Italian club." Pictures have been taken for free by two masters of contemporary photography: Chris Broadbent and Gerald Bruneau (Andy Warhol’s former assistant).


A series of innovative and traditional activities have been created and integrated, focusing on different areas, in order to promote a positive viral communication.

The campaign has been donated media from national and local TV and radio stations, as well as in printed and online newspapers and magazines.

The two spots were also edited with behind-the-scenes clips to create a video clip to be broadcast by music television networks, YouTube and social networks.

The website is the core of the campaign, and was designed to foster a guided path toward organ donation. It allows users to ask questions, get answers, and make an informed decision. It includes an important innovative element: FAQs are done through video interviews (sharable through social networks) with surgeons from the world of transplantation, and are set in the operating room.

The campaign will also be launching a contest for college students to create communication initiatives to promote the campaign’s theme. In 2013, Pubblicità Progresso communication experts will be visiting the main Italian universities together with an AIDO member to answer any specific questions.


To assess the effectiveness of the campaign, two sources of information have been taken into account: the number of AIDO association subscribers and website popularity.

Only six months after the launch of the campaign, a huge increase was observed in the number of AIDO association subscribers, due to users who have downloaded the registration form from the campaign’s website (www.doniamo.org) and then watched the spot on television. Recently this figure has grown to 1,549 people and counting.

The campaign saw more than 5,000 website hits the first month alone. The website is a starting point for possible donors. They visit it in order to get more information about organ donation or to address their personal doubts, or even to post comments and questions.

The campaign is in the process on conducting a post test in 2013.

Conclusions and Recommendations

The theme, the quality of the materials at the team's disposal, the engagement, and the innovative communication project are all available to program editors and curators who wish to support, promote and spread the message of the campaign.

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