Last year, we completed a breakthrough campaign for non-profit, Be The Match, which operates the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world and works to connect donors with patients facing life-threatening blood diseases. The campaign was a first-of-its-kind for the organization, flipping the traditionally patient focused messaging to a message focused on the opportunity for donors, specifically young guys 18-24 years-old, to save a life.
And it worked. In the end, space150 increased the number of young male donors by more than 200%, increased awareness of the cause with a very apprehensive audience, and set the organization up to save even more lives.
The campaign has earned some accolades from The Webby’s and other award organizations, so we sat down with the Be The Match team at space150 to talk about what it was all about.
Describe “Be The Guy.” What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
18-24 year old guys have the ideal biology to best match as marrow donors with those suffering from life-threatening blood cancers. We introduced this young male audience to their unique opportunity to save a life as bone marrow donor – demonstrating how being young and male qualifies them to save a life, despite all the oddities that come with being young and male.
What key challenges did you face? And how did you overcome them?
We had to make this new, inundated audience aware of a brand they’d never heard of, help them understand what bone marrow transplantation is and why it’s necessary for patients, and move them through an online registration process full of personal questions and medical language.
To overcome this, we planned for each stage of the audience journey, from awareness to education to registration. We reached them where they hang out – across platforms and partners including Snapchat, Reddit, Twitch, and Nitro Circus – to drive awareness and relevance, leading more than 5 million people to a custom landing experience that provided further education before clicking to register.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on “Be The Guy”?
18-24 year old guys are the most sought-after bone marrow donors for patients facing blood cancers and other life-threatening diseases. Registering 18,000 new donors creates the potential of that many more patient lives will be saved.
Why is it important?
Be The Match operates the world’s largest bone marrow donor registry, matching searching patients to donors. A bone marrow transplantation can very literally be the cure for someone’s blood cancer.
When working on “Be The Guy,” what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
We were very conscious of balancing a tone that would catch the attention of this audience without taking away from the seriousness of what it means to be a donor. We aimed to bring light to a heavy topic, without making light of it. But we needed to be real about the donation process through our educational tactics and through informative partner collaborations like our Reddit AMA. We had to make sure we were accurately representing the donor commitment while also making it approachable for our audience.
What did you learn? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren’t expecting?
While most cause organizations focus on creating empathy for the people in need, we discovered a deeper, truer motivation for this audience. For young men, the decision to become a bone marrow donor is self-motivated and self-affirming. It’s as much about them as it is about the patient in need. This insight fueled our creative approach, putting potential young male donors at the center of our campaign.