Category G04. Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
Name Company Position
Jyrki Poutanen TBWA\HELSINKI Chief Creative Officer
Mikko Pietilä TBWA\Helsinki Executive Creative Director
Erno Reinikainen TBWA\HELSINKI Creative Director
Joona Mantere TBWA\Helsinki Art Director
Lauri Gran TBWA\Helsinki Copywriter
Tuomas Perälä TBWA\HELSINKI Copywriter
Joonas Vähäkallio TBWA\Helsinki Graphic Designer
Anni Tammenaho TBWA\Helsinki Project Manager
Pauliina Perkiö TBWA\Helsinki Creative Content Strategist
Fanny Haga TBWA\Helsinki Photographer
Melissa Kuitunen TBWA\Helsinki Data & Insight
Jaana Hiltunen TBWA\Helsinki Project Co-ordinator
Niko Hatara TBWA\SCREEN Producer
Tuukka Tikkanen TBWA\Helsinki Production Manager
Lisa Myllymäki TBWA\Helsinki Editor
Mikko Kuoppasalmi TBWA\Helsinki Editor, Photographer
Anne Lind Finnish Red Cross Blood Service Marketing Manager
Hille Nylander Finnish Red Cross Blood Service Marketing Co-ordinator
Juho Ojala TBWA Helsinki Planner

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

On February 2nd 2019 the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service held an event with one goal in mind, to break the stigma around blood donation and tattoos especially among young adults. During the event the Red Cross together with Legacy Tattoo marked blood donors for life with custom blood type tattoos, the only catch was you had to pay in blood. The misconception that we wanted to break among young adults was that having a tattoo will prevent you from donating blood. So we decided to prove the stigma wrong in a direct way possible, by giving away free tattoos.


Saving a life is as simple baring ones arm and going under the needle. Unfortunately donation levels are decreasing as young adults have become more hesitant to donate. One massive factor that contributes to this is a commonly held falsehood, that you can't donate if you have a tattoo. This is far from true as a tattoo has no effect on whether you can donate or not. The goal of this campaign was to break this stigma in the most radical way possible.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

The idea was simple, we allowed donors to immortalise their blood type on their skin and mark themselves as lifelong donors. All they had to do was pay for their tattoo in blood. Custom tattoos were designed by the legendary Helsinki based studio Legacy tattoo and then punched in during the event. The tattoos were so popular that they were available to all studios around the world to help spread our message.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The target audience was young adults in Finland, especially those with tattoos who believe they aren't eligible to donate. The event was promoted by some of Finland's most popular musicians and influencers among the target audience as they got blood type tattoos to help promote the event. The influencers then spoke out on their channels to both help push the event and spread the message that getting a tattoo won't make you ineligible for donation. The event was also supported with a small campaign and a pr push.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

The Blood Tattoo event was held on the 2nd of February 2019. The event was promoted with a campaign beforehand and the during the early hours of the event hundreds of people lined up in hope of getting their own tattoo. The event itself had four stations continuously needling tattoos onto the skin of donors. A fresh photo of every tattoo and donor was taken and then instantly made live on Helsinki's largest outdoor screen outside the event space. As the event was so popular that all donors couldn't get their tattoos, the tattoos were made public domain. Now hundreds of blood type tattoos have been done in studios all over Finland.

List the results (30% of vote)

Hundreds of people attended the event. Interest in blood donation hit an all time high in Finland. Earned media reach: 12,238,156 Earned media value: 113,202 € Red Cross Blood Service engagement rate +10% But most importantly a record high for new blood donors was made after the event especially among the target audience and not a single blood cell type hit a critically low level.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and / or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

As mentioned in the background there is a dangerous falsehood surrounding tattoos and blood donation; people believe that getting a tattoo will prevent you from donating blood. Celebrities such as Cristiano Ronaldo keep this lie alive by making claims that the reason they don't have tattoos is to ensure that they can donate blood. Our goal was to break this stigma and luckily our results prove that our message was heard and understood.