Reporters Without Borders Promo, Case study BLOOD by Publicis Brussels


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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Belgium
Agency Publicis Brussels
Associate Creative Director Tom Berth, Geert De Rocker
Executive Creative Director Paul Servaes
Creative Director Alain Janssens
Art Director Alex Gabriels
Copywriter Wim Corremans
Client Service Director Sebastien Desclee
Photographer Stan Xu
Typographer Christophe Vantricht
Released April 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Charity and Not for Profit
Executive Creative Director: Paul Servaes (Publicis Brussels)
Creative Director: Alain Janssens (Publicis Brussels)
Associate Creative Director: Tom Berth/Geert De Rocker (Publicis Brussels)
Copywriter: Wim Corremans (Publicis Brussels)
Art Director: Alex Gabriels (Publicis Brussels)
Photographer: Stan (Studio Habousha)
Retoucher: Christophe Vantricht (Publicis Brussels)
Typographer: Christophe Vantricht (Publicis Brussels)
Art Buyer: Laurence Maes (Publicis Brussels)
Client Service Director: Sébastien Desclée (Publicis Brussels)
Account Manager: Mikaël Ogor/Annemie Verschueren (Publicis Brussels)
Planner: Tom Theys (Publicis Brussels)
Digital Services Director: Nadia Dafir (Publicis Brussels)
Web Production: Bureau 347 (Bureau 347)
TV Producer: Jan-Frederik Degreve (
Media placement: Newspaper Ad - La Libre Belgique - 28/04/2011
Media placement: TV Spot - Club RTL - 28/04/2012
Media placement: Internet - - 28/04/2012
Media placement: Outdoor Poster - Outdoor - 28/04/2012

Summary of the Campaign

Press freedom is under attack. In conflict zones all over the world, journalists are deliberately targeted because they report the truth. In Belgium, press freedom is also under attack. Press scandals rule the public opinion, such as the News of the World phone hacking incident. As a consequence, the large public starts generalizing and questions the legitimacy of press freedom as such. Journalists, even those in conflict zones, are losing credibility and are considered as sensation seekers. The loss of idealistic support risks to end in a dramatic loss of financial support in the near future.
For the first time in Belgium, we succeeded in uniting all major national media to make a collective statement for press freedom. Since many reporters had already drawn blood in war zones, we created a PR-able event with a strong and positive link to that: a big themed blood donation. Key idea: Rather give our blood to victims than to predators of press freedom.
The genius about the key idea is that it didn’t just united them, it also turned journalists and editors of all these national media into spokesmen for press freedom.
They felt so involved that they took the initiative to report about it on TV, radio, in newspapers. They all teamed up and broadened the public opinion about press freedom. After a 15 minute long TV special featuring Belgium’s most famous war reporter Rudi Vranckx, the most often retweeted message on the program’s wall was: ‘A few good men #ReportersWithoutBorders’.

The Situation
Reporters Without Borders is an international non-profit organization that defends the press freedom across the world and helps to free imprisoned journalists, pays lawyers and provides journalists in conflict zones with bulletproof vests etc.
More than ever, press freedom is under attack. In 2011, 66 journalists killed, 1959 journalists attacked, 1011 arrested. This spring, Gilles Jacquier and Marie Colvin were killed in Syria.
Meanwhile in Belgium, press scandals rule the public opinion. As a consequence, war reporters are losing credibility, are considered as sensation seekers. The risks taken are seen as ‘part of the job’.

The Goal
Reporters Without Borders needed to broaden the large public’s view on journalists in particular and press freedom in general. We needed to unite as much media as possible around one statement and turn them all into spokesman for press freedom and Reporters Without Borders. All this had to be done with the less possible budget. Every dollar spent in media is one dollar less to pay lawyers who defend imprisoned journalists or one dollar less to pay for protective gear such as bulletproof vests. The event also had to create sympathy to make future fund raising campaigns successful.

The Strategy

How can you make it tangible to the large public that reporters in war zones give their blood and their lives to report the truth? We created a highly PR-able event with a strong and positive link: a big themed blood donation. Key idea: Rather give our blood to victims than to predators of press freedom. This idea linked the violence they suffer from in far away countries to a good cause close the people. It showed people that journalists are good people, it united all media to make a collective statement, and it automatically made them report about it. All this without spending a single dollar of the organisation’s life saving budget.

Reporters Without Borders contacted all major national media and convinced them to participate in a themed blood donation. Key idea: Rather give our blood to victims than to predators of press freedom. We made them call upon their journalists and editors via posters and their internal mail system to show up for the donation. We got their permission to use their premises for the donation and we asked them to report about it. We also negociated free full page advertising space in Belgium’s leading newspapers to announce the themed donation. We teamed up with Belgium’s most famous war reporters in order to PR the campaign even more.

Documented Results
All major national media contacted participated. We united 13 national television stations, 6 newspapers and 15 radio stations for the largest themed blood donation in Belgium ever. Over 600 journalists and editors showed up at the donation and became our spokesmen. Over 200 liters of blood were collected. On a population of 11 million, we reached approx. 1.1 million readers via free full page ads in leading national newspapers, more than 2 million people by TV news and by an unaffordable 15’ special featuring Belgium’s most famous war reporters Rudi Vranckx, Daniel Dumoustier and even world famous BBC reporter Louis Theroux commenting on the action. Journalist JP Martin assisted in a 10’ long radio special on Bel-RTL, with a 52% reach in the south of Belgium. Famous radio station Studio Brussel dedicated a 5’ long special. The advertising-free Public News website, exceptionally placed our banner. A huge PR, for free.