The Power Of Collaboration For Good: The 'Missing Type' Effect

17/08/2016 11:36 | Updated 17 August 2016

If the recent EU referendum has taught us one thing it is the importance, or indeed the necessity, of increased collaboration between organisations, countries and people. As the world comes together for Blood Week during a period of unprecedented upheaval, we are forced to consider the inevitable impact these changes will have on wider society.

We've all seen the ways in which communications, like Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, have the power to change the world for the better and I am personally reminded of the transformative role we, as an industry, have the ability to play.

You only need to look through the shortlist for this year's Cannes Lions Grand Prix for good to see that all over the world advertisers are coming together with brands and charities to have a positive impact on society. Almost all of the work that was recognised this year has one thing in common: effective collaboration.

Our industry needs more collaborators.

Collaboration is at the heart of Engine, so this year we're taking it a step further. In the world's first international blood drive, NHS Blood and Transplant are bringing together 25 blood donor services from 21 countries around the world. Covering one billion of the world's population this call for new donors hopes to ensure a safe blood supply for future generations.

Last year, our Missing Type campaign, which won a gold Health and Wellness Lion at this year's Cannes Festival, saw a record-breaking 100,000 lives saved or improved as a direct result of the donors who registered off the back of the campaign.

Tasked with reversing the 40% decline in UK blood donors, we needed an idea that could be really disruptive, but at the same time generate a sense of national altruism. So we pulled together a bespoke team of PR and advertising expertise from across Engine, and made the letters of the blood groups--A, O and B--disappear from society - visualising the fall in blood donation and creating a powerful call to action.

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, publications, logos and social media profiles, allowing the message to be easily understood, imitated and shared.
The visual call to action was easy and free to execute across both digital and physical spaces, which meant that the message travelled quickly from advocate to advocate.

During Blood Week this year, the As, Os and Bs will again disappear from every day and iconic locations around the globe, in countries as far flung as Australia, America and Japan.

We pride ourselves on a culture that allows us to create truly business-transforming work for our clients by building unique, and often unconventional, teams of experts specifically around their needs. We put together a team of leading specialists across every marketing discipline to work together at every step of the campaign journey.

It is important that today's advertisers are suitably positioned to create work that is channel-neutral, as these are the ideas that generate cut through. It is work like this that can truly have a positive impact on the world.

Missing Type is as an example of channel-neutral thinking at its best and this kind of idea is one that could only be a result of collaboration.

From day one, the creative minds of our creative agency WCRS sat together with the PR strategists of MHP, and there was something brilliantly reactive about the fusion of marketing expertise. Of course, we had the perfect catalyst: great clients get great work, and NHS Blood and Transplant's cause was something our creatives could really rally behind.

Factors such as increasing urbanisation, wider and more exotic travel, and a lack of awareness about the need for more diverse blood donors have meant that the shortage in blood supply is a global issue--one that we need collaboration to solve.

The sum of the parts is always better than the individual, and working together-- both for our clients, and for each other--will always result in a bigger impact.

To find out how your organisation can get involved in supporting the campaign, visit the Engine website.