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Hires, Wins & Business

Milkman Delivers Bottles of Blood in Engine's Debut Campaign for NHS Blood and Transplant

The touching campaign features voice-over by Academy Award-winning Jim Broadbent and was created in partnership with Pablo

Milkman Delivers Bottles of Blood in Engine's Debut Campaign for NHS Blood and Transplant

To raise awareness of the need for blood donors, NHSBT Give Blood worked with Director Tom Beard on a new TV commercial titled ‘Whistle’, voiced over by Academy Award-winning Jim Broadbent, and featuring past blood donation recipients and current blood donors.  The TVC produced by Pablo uses the metaphor of a milkman: an iconic symbol for our local communities. 

Engine has held the account for the last three years and has created award-winning campaigns such as the much famed Missing Type campaign.

Engine put forward a successful bid which will see them working together with Pablo on PR and advertising services.

The two teams first worked together on the ‘Bleed for England’ campaign that Pablo led creatively around the 2015 Rugby World Cup.       

Gemma Irvine, MD at Engine said: “Working jointly with Pablo was the natural choice. We have worked really well together for NHS Blood and Transplant and mental health charity MQ in the past and we felt that the collaboration would create the very best results for the client. We both have a real passion for this cause, and the people that serve it. We’ve had the privilege to create some award-winning and - most importantly - really effective work together. And this gives us the chance to continue to deliver to the same high standards ”

Juliette Larthe, PRETTYBIRD Executive Producer and Co-Founding Partner UK commented: “We started working with Tom Beard unofficially in 2017. I had been a fan of his work for a while, so it’s a delight to have Tom working with us on a plethora of projects; whether it’s stills, shorts, music videos or advertising, every medium he uses  hones his storytelling technique. This new film for the Give Blood campaign is a perfect example of Tom’s ability to weave a visual narrative around an important issue, navigating it with style and impact, and illustrating the important core message".   

Tim Snape, ECD at Pablo stated: “We have tried to create a piece that is both welcoming and arresting in equal measures to affect people emotionally and deliver the truth about what it takes to keep the country going strong. PRETTYBIRD have produced the  film masterfully; pairing the emotional components of the story, with the cinematic, very British feel of the spot. It was very solid creative and practical partnership—pairing Pablo’s vision, story and concept, with PRETTYBIRD’s realisation".

NHS Blood and Transplant has been tasked with recruiting 250,000 more blood donors. This includes the recruitment of more vulnerable blood donors such as O negative, A negative, B negative and donors from then black community. The challenge for organ donation is encouraging 1.1M people to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register each year and driving people to talk to their families and about whether they want to donate to make it easier for loved ones to support this decision when the time comes.

Ceri Rose, NHS Blood and Transplant’s Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications said: “The combination of Engine and Pablo, we believe, gives us the best chance of hitting these really important targets. With this collaboration, we’ve the opportunity to build on some brilliant campaigns and to draw from a shared knowledge and understanding. We are now excited to bring a new energy and joined up approach that we believe will lead to seamless “talked-about” work that punches above its weight.”

Gareth Mercer, MD at Pablo, said: “We learned from the ‘Bleed for England’ campaign, just how crucial it is to highlight the importance of an individual’s contribution. But we also know that if we address people’s fears whilst helping people understand how easy it is to donate, we dramatically affect sign-up. In the case of organ donation, far too many opportunities to donate and save lives are missed because families approached about donation don’t know what their relative wanted to happen and they don’t support organ donation going ahead.  There’s a lot that people can do for each other - and for Pablo this feels like a really important cause to put our shoulder behind.”

Director Tom Beard commented: “The challenge of delivering a metaphorical narrative in less than a minute without it feeling rushed or confusing was a lot of fun. It was very important to me that the characters were all relatable, everyday types that an audience could  easily familiarise themselves with. I hope this spot manages to engage and inspire  new donors to give blood.”

NHSBT Give Blood need nearly 700 new donors every day to cover the country’s blood requirements.

The win will be been marked by a TV campaign produced by Pablo — urging people to bleed for the things that matter to them. The core strategy seeks to reinforce the reasons why people love where they live, and why it’s worth bleeding for. The hero film “Whistle” uses the analogy of a traditional British milkman delivering milk to those that need it, kicking off a year of activity under the “Bleed For…” umbrella.

“With this campaign, we want to encourage people to become donors by making them feel closer to those who are in need of blood,” says Mark Sng, Planning Partner at Pablo.

“We’ve used the metaphor of a milkman: an iconic symbol for our local communities delivering pints of blood to those in need. We wanted people to feel warm and fuzzy about the idea of the friendly milkman figure in a regular community before realising that he’s delivering bottles of blood to those in need, which is where the real impact is. We have tried to create a piece that is both welcoming and arresting in equal measures to affect people emotionally and deliver the truth about what it takes to keep the country going strong,” says Tim Snape, ECD at Pablo.

The spot features past blood donation recipients and current blood donors and is voiced over by Academy Award-winning Jim Broadbent. 

To find out more about NHS Blood and Transplant, visit:

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Advertiser: NHSBT

Producer: Nina Bacchus

Head of Marketing Communications: Nadine Eaton

Marketing and Communications Manager: Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications: Ceri Rose

Creative Director: Tim Snape

Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Pablo

Head of Account Management: Kirstin Ross-MacLeod

Head of Brand : Gemma Irvine

Planning Director: Mark Sng

Executive Producer: Alex Nicholson

Production Company

Production Company: PRETTYBIRD

Executive Producer: Juliette Larthe

Director: Tom Beard

DOP: Rina Yang @ LUX

Producer: Hannah Bellil

Food Stylist: New Business - Mia Powell


Edit Company: Speade

Editor: Ben Crook

Post Production / VFX

Colourist: Joseph Bicknell


Music Company: Buff

Composer: Dan White

Audio Post Production: String & Tins