Pan American Health Organization

Putting volunteers at the heart of the story

How do you talk about blood without talking about...blood? The Pan American Health Organization asked us to evoke a dramatic moment (the need for a transfusion) - focusing not on the tragedy but on the possibility of saving lives.

Services: Audiovisual Production
Issues: Health
Live work

Highlighting everyday heroes

The challenge was to create a video for World Volunteer Blood Donor Day that didn’t look like all the other thousands of other videos that already exist on the subject. The first step was to understand why the word “volunteer” in the title was so important. Donors who approach blood banks on a regular basis, with no incentive but to help others, are a lifeline in the health systems of Latin America. While anonymous, they become heroes every time someone needs a transfusion. Nameless and faceless, they save lives.

That’s why we chose them as the stars of this campaign. With their calm voices and smiles as they go to donate, they shifted the narrative away from the typical drama and images: syringes, plasma bags, hospitals. Their quiet courage conveyed one of the key messages: donating blood is safe, it’s something you can do any time, then have a big breakfast and get on with your day.

The conceptual challenge was solved, but now we faced a technical one: how were we going to film these volunteers in the midst of a pandemic, in every big city from the Caribbean to Argentina?

The tone we were looking for solved this problem. We wanted the recordings to be spontaneous, even amateurish. We wanted the images to be like the ones everyone sends to friends and family on social media, because we wanted to touch a chord that rang true. So our protagonists recorded themselves with their cell phones. The variety in quality and format could have been a problem, but in this case it added value. Everything shown is real, and the result is a sensitive, honest and uplifting portrayal of the ordinary people who keep others’ hearts beating.

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