The colour red dominates the holiday season, whether it’s a rotund Santa Claus, Christmas baubles or the stocking above the fireplace. However, there is a deeper shade of red that can often go amiss amongst the intense shopping and Christmas cheer.
At this time of year blood supplies typically trail off due to the fact that the sheer rush of the Christmas countdown diverts normally active donors.
Spokesperson Theresa Kuhlmann, of the American Red Cross, highlights why it crucial to blood banks to replenish supplies at this time of year: “Especially around the holidays you’ll see that there’ll be a greater need for type O negative and the reason for that is that is that it is the universal blood type. It can be used in all situations and I’m thinking primarily of trauma situations”.
To this effect there are a number of drives on today, including one New Jersey Donor Centre which is holding a Red Friday drive to coincide with the Black Friday sales rush. Those who step into the centre will receive free refreshments and a $10 Target gift card for participating.
However, sometimes it takes a more innovative approach to reach out, especially when it comes to reaching passive younger consumers. Earlier this year we reported on a campaign that enabled fashion conscious shoppers to join a lottery system for designer clothing by making a blood donation, and the innovation drive is seemingly on the increase.
In Hungary, where blood donation is low, a unique nightlife experience was developed in order to drive tangible results from young people. Borrowing from the ever-popular Vampire culture surrounding movies such as Twilight, the Hungarian Red Cross staged a 'Vampire Party' with a difference. The only way to be admitted to the DJ action inside was by giving blood, and those that donated where marked on their neck with a realistic, yet temporary, bite mark.
The campaign was a huge success and managed to net 25 litres of blood in just a few hours.