The PESO Model: Changing the World—One Public Relations Campaign at a TimeA London-based PR agency with a small campaign budget and big ambitions set out to save lives in 2015—and did it.


By using the PESO model, of course.

Engine was tasked with creating a campaign around National Blood Week for the National Health Service (NHS) Blood & Transplant.

Significantly, this was not intended as an awareness campaign.

The objective was a change in behavior, namely, to register a minimum of 10,000 new blood donors through the campaign.

The number of blood donors in the UK had plummeted.

There was a 40 percent drop in donors in the last decade.

The campaign targeted the 17-24 age group to safeguard the future blood supply for hospitals in the UK.

National Blood Week with the PESO Model

Like many brilliant PR campaigns, the concept Engine created was deceptively simple: The Missing Type campaign.

The idea was to get everyone to drop their As, Bs, and Os to symbolize each blood type.

Engine approached numerous brands and organizations to act as partners in the campaign.

Names included: The Daily Mirror, one of the country’s most popular newspapers; O2, a major phone network, and even Downing Street No 10 (the headquarters of the British government) participated.

Engine engaged in an extensive media relations campaign, across tabloid and broadsheet print and broadcast media.

The centerpiece was the Daily Mirror, who dropped the A and O in the newspaper’s title, marking the first time in its history the newspaper had changed its masthead.

The newspaper, which has a daily readership of 767,000, also ran an editorial explaining how readers could participate.

An extensive social media campaign was supported by brands including Coca Cola, football team Tottenham Hotspurs, Google, Microsoft, Cadbury, and Allianz.

The Results

The result was a record breaking 26,000 uses of #NationalBloodWeek and #MissingType across Twitter.

Combined with sponsored posts on social media, advertising, and extensive promotion on the NHS Blood & Transport channels, each aspect of the PESO model was combined to create a campaign that has won numerous awards and accolades.

While we all love awards and recognition, the real measure of any campaign is whether or not it achieved its objectives.

As mentioned, the benchmark was 10,000 registrations during the course of the campaign.

The actual number signed up exceeded 30,000, with 18,000 of those falling in the 17-24 target age category.

The campaign saved an estimated 100,000 lives.

Broadcast coverage of the social campaign included air time on flagship shows such as BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain, This Morning, Sky News, BBC Radio 1, Jeremy Vine on BBC Radio 2, The Today Programme, and BBC Radio Five Live.

Print and online coverage of MissingType included national dailies The Guardian, Mail Online, The Sun, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, The Times, and Buzzfeed.

The campaign also won the support of more than 60 digital influencers and more than 1,000 brands and organizations.

By using the PESO model to combine traditional and digital forms of media with social channels and paid-for activity, the campaign went far beyond what could be expected if just one type of channel was used.

The campaign was relaunched globally this year, and still save lives today.

Katie Harrington

Katie Harrington is passionate about challenging Public Relations stereotypes and determined to help other practitioners to demonstrate the value of their campaigns. Katie creates original, integrated communications campaigns for B2B audiences, and has worked with major global businesses including Emirates Airline and Allianz Worldwide Care.

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