Sir Graham Henry asks Kiwis to fill NZ Blood Service’s reserve bench

With less than four percent of New Zealanders registered as donors, New Zealand Blood Service is calling on the country to join the ‘Biggest Reserve Bench’ with the help of Sir Graham Henry and YoungShand.

New Zealand’s hospitals require 3500 donations every week just to meet critical levels, which are set to increase due to demand for plasma. The response to the challenge is New Zealand Blood Service’s recruitment drive to get 100,000 people on the Reserve Bench so they are available to donate when the country needs them.

The recruitment drive is led by Henry, a retired blood donor, who, in a 60-second spot by YoungShand, swaps out his rugby coaching hat to instead fill a reserve bench of a different kind and explain the importance of donating blood.

“When a fellow Kiwi needs blood, we need to be there,” he says before calling on Kiwis: “Help me fill the most important reserve bench of my career and let’s save Kiwis’ lives.”

Adding to the emotional impact, the 100,000 people needed to join the reserve bench are represented in the ad by a chain of red seats stretching across the country.

“This year alone we need to collect over 70 tonnes of plasma to meet demand, which is another reason why we need this reserve bench,” explains Asuka Burge, national manager of marketing and communications at New Zealand Blood Service. “People who are willing and ready to be called up to donate when it’s required to ensure we can meet current and future demands.”

Every 18 minutes in New Zealand someone needs blood and for some it means the difference between life and death meaning every whole blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives. Meanwhile, every plasma donation can be turned into 12 life-saving products.

Emma Dalton, client service director at YoungShand, says the agency has a longstanding relationship with New Zealand Blood Service, but this campaign marks a step-change in its approach as it aims to build a reserve of Kiwis ready and waiting to give blood when it’s needed.

“The idea was conceived with the knowledge that we need more men to donate. Men are better candidates for donating plasma as they can donate larger volumes of plasma. Currently, men donate 30 percent less often than women in New Zealand. We do really hope women get on board and sign up too. The more Kiwis we have on the reserve bench, the better.”

Anne Boothroyd, creative director at YoungShand adds as a nation, we’re good at stepping up for each other. But with blood donation, unless you’ve been personally impacted, it’s easy to forget that our hospitals rely entirely on the generosity of donors to do their job.

“This was a big task that required a disruptive solution. We hope the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench will be just that.”

The 60-second spot has been shared online and is supported by a 30-second TV spot. Each drives people to a landing page where they can join the reserve bench. Henry will also be keeping Kiwis up-to-date with the progress of the bench on social media.


Agency – YoungShand
Creative Director – Anne Boothroyd
Creative Director – Scott Maddox
Copywriter – Karla Tarr
Art Director – Ben Carroll
Client Services Director – Emma Dalton
Account Director – Tymon Rackley

Senior Account Manager – Daniel O’Leary
Strategy Director – Jesse Kelly
Agency Film Producer – Esther Watkins
Executive Digital Producer – Kat Cox
Designer – Elliot Oxborough

Media Account Director – Kathleen Gunther
Media Planner – John Waltmann

Film Company – Finch
Director – Abigail Greenwood
Executive Producer — Jimena Murray
DP – Maria Ines Manchengo
Editor – Anastasia Doniants
Post Production – Nakatomi
Sound Studio – Liquid Studios

Client – NZ Blood Service
National Manager Marketing and Communications – Asuka Burge
Marketing Manager Acquisition – Shameen De Silva

PR – Network Communication
Senior Account Director – Sandy Trigg
Account Executive – Veronica Rojo

About Author

Comments are closed.