Press Releases

WPP Companies Help the American Red Cross to Create Largest Blood Donor Initiative in Red Cross History

OgilvyOne, Ogilvy PR and UniWorld Assist the American Red Cross in Its Efforts to Educate America About the Importance of Regular Blood Donation

New York, NY, May 21, 2003 — A fully integrated marketing communications program was launched on May 20 by the American Red Cross with the help of OgilvyOne, Ogilvy PR and UniWorld Group, three WPP companies, to support the nationwide Save A Life Tour 2003.

The Save A Life Tour 2003 is a national campaign developed to educate and encourage Americans to help save lives through regular blood donation. The Tour features two Red Cross convoys that are traveling across the country through 345 communities to generate excitement about blood donation. The tour includes a mobile museum where visitors have a chance to see the “lifecycle/chain of events” of collected blood to the end user, view video testimonials from actual blood recipients, and learn how blood donations are used in local communities, across the country and around the world. Ogilvy PR’s Consumer Marketing Practice helped the American Red Cross with the marketing and public relations components for the tour, including national media relations, tool kit and materials creation, special events, promotions and marketing partnerships.

To support and promote the Save A Life Tour, OgilvyOne, the one-to-one arm of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, helped the American Red Cross create a broad range of marketing materials that include television ads, print ads, outdoor posters, mailers, appointment cards, brochures, payroll stuffers, banners, print, outdoor and even the exterior design of the convoys. The creative work uses a bandage as a visual icon and celebrates the heroic nature of donating blood while also stressing how simple it is to make a donation and help save someone’s life.

“We needed to confront the fact that people are still afraid of the needle. So each execution shows people who’ve made a donation just a few minutes earlier, back doing whatever it is they were doing before: Riding a bus, solving a crossword puzzle, putting together a bike. Each of the donors has a tell-tale bandage on his or her arm, which we refer to with the line, ‘Wear it as a badge of honor,’” explained OgilvyOne creative directors Mark Drossman and Alfredo Rossi.

A series of public service television ads that bring the print execution to life were directed by Tony Kaye with voice-over provided by Bebe Neuwirth. Other lines in the campaign include “Saved a life between classes,” and “Saved a life before catching the 7:22.” UniWorld Group helped the American Red Cross to develop culturally relevant messages appealing to the large African American and Hispanic audience. “This collaboration is an excellent example of our commitment to the importance of our 360-degree approach to bring all marketing disciplines together to meet the needs of clients such as the Red Cross,” stated Cheryl Overton, senior vice president and group director, Marketing, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. “Our work for the Red Cross leverages the strengths, talents and capabilities of several family companies and signals the importance that clients place on integrated campaigns such as the American Red Cross Save A Life Tour campaign.”

The Save A Life Tour 2003 initiative was the inspiration of Ramesh Thadani, executive vice president and chief executive officer, Biomedical Services and Radha Muthiah, vice president, Donor Strategy.


About the American Red Cross Biomedical Services
Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 1,000 chapters and Blood Services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by 1.2 million volunteers and 30,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 67,000 disasters, it trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills, and exchanges more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.


About Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is a global marketing communications firm, with offices in more than 60 cities around the world. Entering its 24th year providing public relations solutions, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide has specialties in consumer marketing, corporate (B2B), health & medical, social marketing, technology, public affairs, government relations and entertainment. Through its subsidiary Feinstein Kean Healthcare, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide provides communication consulting to biotechnology companies. The Holmes Report has named Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide 2003 International Agency of the Year; marking the fourth consecutive year the firm has been awarded “Agency of the Year.” Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide is part of the WPP Group, the world’s largest marketing communications company (NASDAQ: WPPGY, For more information, visit our Web site at