Emily Needs You: Stem Cell Donor Appeal Case Study

Helping Emily find a stem cell donor match

Client Overview



Team Emily




Marketing & Media



In October 2022, a local girl, Emily, had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia at the age of 21, and was looking for a match for a stem cell transplant. Emily’s family (Team Emily) were campaigning on social media to get as many 16–30-year-olds to do a mouth swab and join the Anthony Nolan Stem Cell Register as possible to find a match. All of our team in this age range did the mouth swab and joined the Stem Cell Register, however, unfortunately, there were no matches. Regardless, we still wanted to help this cause as much as possible.



There was zero budget available, so we used her close relationships with the media owners to ask them to donate some media space to help get Team Emily’s message out there and boost the number of sign-ups. As a result, we initially obtained free of charge space on 5 digital 48 sheets in Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, and Liverpool over a 2-week period, achieving 2,709,999 impressions. Alongside this, we ran a paid-for and organic social media campaign, subsidised by The Ark to further target 16–30-year-olds specifically. Team Emily said of this, “All I can say is WOW! This is absolutely amazing! This should make such a difference to the awareness and sign-up rates and hopefully find Emily a match. We would have never been able to contact so many people. And in that target age group so this is just the best news”.

After we shared the campaign on LinkedIn, a further media owner saw the campaign and offered to donate space on their digital 48 sheets in Liverpool and the Southeast, further extending the reach of the campaign and achieving 48,472,331 more impressions. Team Emily were delighted with the news and said, “Oh my! That is fantastic! Just what we need! Thank you so much - you really have been a diamond to us!”.

We also contacted our client, Leeds United, and strategically planned to have them run Team Emily’s advert on their large digital screen during half-time of their Leeds v Arsenal match on 16th October 2022 free of charge, which had an attendance of 36,700 fans. The aim of this was to direct all 16–30-year-olds at the match to Team Emily, who were in the East Stand taking mouth swabs and sign-ups.

As well as planning the free of charge media space, we also created the artwork design and was able to share this with other media owners to set live at events such as the Kendrick Lamar concert at First Direct Arena, that had a high 16–30-year-old audience. Alongside this, we worked with Northern Rail to organise the running of the advert on the digital screen at Leeds Train Station, to direct people to Team Emily’s ‘swabbing station’ at the station’s entrance.



We were delighted to receive the news in November 2022 that Emily had finally found a match! Emily had her transplant in December 2022 and is now recovering at home with her family. Following the news, one member of Team Emily contacted us and said;

“On behalf of all Team Emily I can’t express how grateful we are to you and all at The Ark Media - you have been truly amazing in every sense”.

When also received a heart-warming response from Emily’s Dad;

“May I thank you all at The Ark for your wonderful support regarding Emily. Your advertising campaign has been a wonderful gesture and we cannot thank you enough. We are totally overwhelmed. The amount of people who have contacted us saying they have seen the advertisements has been a joy to behold”.

A great example of how out-of-home advertising can be used to help people when they really need it!


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