As someone who is O- blood type, the ‘give-to-all’ kind, I’m a passionate advocate for donating blood (and passionate advocate against campaigns that deter people from donating blood). That doesn’t mean that I do it regularly, though.
Numerous factors conspire to preclude me from the process: thin veins, a tendency to faint if I haven’t eaten enough, and, on occasion, a trip through Asia. Mostly though, it just hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind since moving to the UK three years ago. So when a great campaign comes along, such as the current NHS Blood and Transplant Christmas campaign, I take notice and prepare arms to give the “must-have gift” this year.
However, as inspiring as the video and images of white-robed santas was, when I started the process of making an appointment online, I found the lack of obvious reference to either campaign on the Blood.co.uk website a marketing miss (it’s hidden in the second tab in a non-rotating slider), and the usability of the appointment system frustrating.
I could see how someone had worked hard to integrate a back-end database to create a useful experience for booking an online appointment but, ultimately, relevant or substantial user testing had been overlooked.
Every day for the week in which I was looking to donate noted three things: 0 appointments, a walk-in service, and, most confoundingly that ‘appointments can be made’. All of this created more questions than answers; mainly, is there any point in walking in if there are no appointments? How can appointments be made if there are no appointments available? What’s the usual waiting time for walk in service? What kind of snacks can I look forward to? Okay, that last one is not a deal-breaker, but thinking about post-donation treats could be enough to push me into the unknown at my local donation centre, prepared with up to four spare hours and a good book...
Hadrian's Wall Trust
As you wade sluggishly through the recesses of your thoughtfulness to find the perfect gift for a loved one this Christmas -- having exhausted the possibility of a personalised domain name (well, at least until new gTLDs are released next year -- more on that one later) and waved off the mysteriousness and intangibility of naming a star -- you might be ready to hear about Hadrian’s Wall Trust’s campaign to fundraise to accommodate a financial shortfall in maintaining the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Adopt A Stone campaign website features a fun, easy-to-use interface that allows you to interact with the wall virtually to choose your perfect stone (or to locate a stone belonging to someone you know). You can easily adjust your geographical position on the wall if a particular town through which the wall traverses, from Browness-on-Solway to Wallsend, has more meaning than another to you. I particularly love that as you drag the toggle along the wall, you’re provided with a little bit of history about that location.
Even the payment provides a bit of fun with the option for one-off payments of £3, £10 or £15 or, more spectacularly, the chance to receive a bronze, silver or gold stone replete with a virtual Legionary, Centurion, or Tribune soldier.
The Adopt a Stone concept is certainly not the first first of its kind (see Peterborough Castle and Exeter Cathedral, for example), but it is the most innovative campaign using the concept that I have found. And I know what my loved ones will be getting from me this year.