UNILAD uses real blood in campaign to change discriminatory donation rules

David Prior's picture
by David Prior

A new campaign from UNILAD that uses real blood has called on the newly-elected government to change discriminatory blood donation policies.

The Out-of-Home campaign is the second phase of its #BloodWithoutBias initiative, developed in partnership with FreedomToDonate and creative agency ELVIS.

The blood exhibited was donated by gay and bisexual men at UNILAD’s Illegal Blood Bank last month as a display of defiance against the three-month deferral period, which restricts sexually active gay and bisexual men from donating unless they abstain from sex for three months.

Instead, UNILAD and FreedomToDonate’s Illegal Blood Bank assessed donors on individual factors and behaviours which impact risk, such as whether they’d had a new partner in the last three months. This system enabled the organisations to identify safe donors using a fairer system which assess all potential donors equally based on their behaviour.

All blood taken at The Illegal Blood Bank was tested at an approved facility by qualified medical professionals and 100% of the blood was deemed perfectly safe to use. 

The healthy blood, which cannot be used to save lives due to the existing policy, will be displayed outside parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street amongst other locations, between 8am and 6pm today.  

The NHS requires 135,000 new donors each year to replace those who stop donating. 

Nick Hodgkins, Brand Marketing Lead at UNILAD owner LADbible Group, said: “We believe it’s our responsibility to leverage our social reach to raise awareness about the issues that matter to young people. 

"With the government maintaining power, we need to ensure the support and passion people showed for The Illegal Blood Bank didn’t go to waste and that the government continues to hear us calling for change.” 

Tanya Brookfield, CEO at ELVIS, said it was the "single most important social cause-driven project that we have ever had the honour of working on”. 

The initiative is the first campaign that LADbible Group has launched since acquiring UNILAD - which has offices in London and Manchester - in October 2018.