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 The Rhode Island Blood Center (RIBC) launches a new public service campaign encouraging our community to "Help Someone Else" by becoming a blood donor.

                Using humor and a loveable character, the campaign launches with video spots that highlight a serious community challenge -- that new life-saving blood donors and regular donations are always needed to sustain the lives of thousands of people in Rhode Island and throughout Southern New England.

                Even though over 37% of the population are eligible to donate blood, only about 5% actually donate regularly, a challenge blood centers across the country face. The campaign personifies how a local character whose name is "Mr. Someone Else," is singlehandedly sustaining the Rhode Island blood supply by giving over 200 donations a day, every day, or roughly 75,000 donations a year. The same number of donations RIBC requires to meet the needs of the hospitals and patients they serve.

                Kara LeBlanc, Marketing Communications Manager of RIBC, explains, "Ensuring a healthy and steady blood supply takes a massive community effort from donors to drive sponsors and media support. It's easy to become complacent and think someone else is taking care of that need." More donors are needed to share in RIBC's mission to provide a safe, plentiful and cost-effective blood supply.

                This is one of the first major marketing campaigns from a blood center in the U.S. that will reach people in every type of media with one sustained message: "Help Someone Else. Become a Donor," the campaign's tagline. LeBlanc says, "The call to action to help someone else has a dual meaning -- to help the small number of people who are giving blood regularly, which the character represents, and, most importantly, to help someone else who needs those blood products to live." 

                The campaign launches with video and web introduction to Someone Else at helpsomeoneelse.org, with many more aspects being rolled out, including an active Instagram presence at someoneelse_ri, radio spots, a billboard, educational print ads, digital web banners, and local appearances by "Someone Else" himself. As people become familiar with our hero "Someone Else," there will even be an option to text him to let him know when you are going to help out.

Related: Watch WJAR 10's story on Someone Else

                Creative for the campaign was created by Rhode Island based advertising agency, Nail Communications. "We wanted to change the way people think about blood donating. Our Someone Else character uses humor to give a human face to a very real problem -- the assumption that our community blood supply is being taken care of by others," said Jeremy Crisp, Managing Partner. "The campaign endeavors to serve both as a thank you to all the people who currently donate, and as a catalyst for those who haven’t yet. By promoting a sense of personal responsibility through the Someone Else campaign, we hope to create a sense of pride that will encourage people to take on this very important cause."

                Media for the campaign is being handled by Rhode Island based media buying firm PriMedia, Inc. "Our goal from the very outset was to work closely with as many of the major media outlets in the state to collaboratively take on the challenge of informing the public of the need for more blood donors and donations," said Rick Boles, Vice President of Media and Operations. "Our team focus has been to create a plan to reach as many potential donors with the "Help Someone Else" messaging as many times as possible to increase awareness and number of donations across the state."

                Blood donations are needed for emergency procedures, surgeries, and to save the lives of trauma victims throughout the state. Most frequently though, blood is used to save the lives of people battling cancer and other genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia. In many cases, a single donation can help save three lives by being split into red cells, platelets and plasma.

                It's no coincidence that RIBC launches the campaign at the start of summertime, the time of year that is notoriously one of the most challenging times for blood centers across the country to meet their collections goals because schools and colleges that normally hold drives are out of session. Plus, more people are vacationing or enjoying the nice weather so blood donation is far from most people's minds even though the need for blood isn't any less critical in the summer.

                RIBC staff will be handing out stickers to donors with the hashtag #IHelpedSomeoneElse to encourage them to post selfies on social media with life-size cutouts of Someone Else, letting their friends and family know about their good deed and encourage others to join them. LeBlanc adds, "Blood donation is one of the most heroic forms of volunteerism. It's unique and beautiful and lifesaving, and it can only come from one human being to another. That's something to share and really celebrate."

                The blood center is also hoping to attract new donors and regular donations with a new donor rewards program that offers donors more choices (from gift cards to t-shirts and apparel) based on a donor's personal donation frequency. The center is kicking off the new program with a summer bonus. All donors who attempt to give at a mobile blood drive or one of RIBC's six donor centers two times between Memorial Day and Labor Day can choose a $10 gift card to either Newport Creamery or Dunkin' Donuts.

                For an introduction to Someone Else, visit helpsomeoneelse.org. For more information on becoming a donor and the donor rewards program, visit ribc.org.