Blood Money: Romanian Music Festival Gets Thirsty
A Romanian music festival gives a whole new meaning to the term "blood money," accepting blood as a form of payment.
Romania has one of the worst rates of blood donation in Europe. Of a population of 20 million, only 1.7 percent have ever donated blood and very few of them are young people. To raise awareness and get that number up, the National Institute for Blood Transfusions partnered with music festival Untold for a "pay with blood" promotion. Artists like Avicii and David Guetta will play in the Transylvanian city of Cluj next weekend for the unorthodox payment plan.
"Romania has a serious issue regarding blood donations, which is really an irony considering the famous legends about Dracula and the vampires," says Catalin Dobre, executive creative director at McCann Bucharest, the agency that executed the campaign. "We counted on [the campaign] to spark the conversation about the sensitive subject of blood donations in Romania. The ultimate goal of the campaign is not to get discounts on festival tickets; this campaign is meant to ignite the habit of donating blood."
Earlier this month, blood donation caravans were stationed in Bucharest, giving donors free tickets to the festival. In addition, those who donated blood in select regional transfusion centers received significant discounts.
Thom Kennon, chief strategy officer at New York digital agency Pure, thinks the campaign is clever, though he doesn't think it ties in enough with the festival's target audience. He compares the campaign with another McCann campaign executed for Vodafone. In June, the telecommunications company taught senior citizens how to use Facebook, connecting them with college students. Aiming to prove that smartphones and social media are for people of all ages, the campaign subsequently led to an old woman's apartment becoming one of the hottest restaurants in Bucharest.
Mike O'Brien covers all things digital marketing as a reporter for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Mashable, The Brooklyn Paper, and various other publications between New York and Oregon, where he earned a Master's degree in journalism in 2008.