Getting folks to become organ donors can be a hard job sometimes. Some people aren’t comfortable contemplating their own deaths, much less having vital parts scissored out of their bodies and given over to strangers after entering the big sleep.
But an ad campaign in Brazil is giving people a bizarre incentive to help out: It is asking thousands of soccer fans to become donors so that when they die, their organs can continue to “vibrate” with the exploits of their team.
The campaign, called Immortal Fans, specifically targets supporters of Sport Recife, a popular soccer club in Brazil’s Pernambuco state. It encourages fans to get donor cards that bear the team’s logo, and features an ad in which patients who are currently waiting for an organ transplant, ask the Sport Recife crowd for help.
“I promise that your heart will continue to beat strongly for Sport,” says one of the patients.
“Even if I donate my lungs to a guy who backs another club, he will breathe Sport Recife,” says a young donor featured in a second ad.
The campaign came about because the local center for organ transplants in Pernambuco was having trouble getting enough donors. As often happens elsewhere in the world, the supply of organs was so limited that some patients neared death while they waited for months to get a crucial kidney or heart transplant.
According to Ogilvy & Mather Brazil, the ad agency that devised the campaign, 51,000 Sport Recife fans have registered to become organ donors since Immortal Fans was launched in mid-2012. The new pool of soccer-crazy donors has managed to eliminate the waiting list for heart and corneal transplants in Pernambuco.
Over the summer, Ogilvy picked up several international ad industry awards for its campaign, including the prestigious Promo & Activation Lions prize in Cannes, France.
“We created another reason to donate organs other than [helping] your family,” the agency says in a video about the campaign. The video ends with an elderly woman who received a life-saving heart transplant.
“My new heart comes from a Sport Recife fan, and it will keep on beating for Sport Club Recife,” the woman says, as she dons a jersey of the famous club.