NHS encourages virtual blood donations with augmented reality outdoor ads

NHS Blood and Transplant is using augmented reality in out-of-home ads that allow the public to give virtual blood donations via an iPhone.

The campaign, created by 23red, was a winner in the annual competition run by Ocean Outdoor and Campaign, which rewards the most creative ideas that can then be brought to life on Ocean’s out-of-home digital screens.

"Virtual blood donation" uses an AR app that is connected to an image of a sick patient and an empty blood bag on a large format digital screen.

Visual recognition detects a sticker on a participant’s arm which then overlays an AR needle, plaster and tube onto their arm. This then triggers the blood bag to fill and the sick patient to be transformed to looking well. Finally, a thank you to the named donor appears on screen.

The campaign is running at Westfield in west London and in Birmingham New Street, backed by experiential and social activity. The app is hosted on Ocean’s Wi-Fi network.

It is the first time an AR app has been used to trigger animation on Ocean’s large format screens.

The patients featured in the ads have had their lives saved as a result of blood donations.

Ian Trenholm, the chief executive of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "We need to find new ways to show people the importance of blood donation.

"The virtual experience gives an insight into the personal reward and satisfaction our loyal donors feel when they give blood and know they are saving lives. Each unit of blood donated can help save or improve the lives of up to three people."

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