84% of Germans are in favor of organ donation, but only 0.001% effectively donate – one of the lowest rates in Europe.
This leads to 10,000 people on organ transplant lists, with 1000 dying every year (+3 per day).
Still, the government maintains an ‘opt-in’ system which requires explicit proof of consent (whatever its form) to become a donor. Regardless of that, the final say is given to families.
But with no national registry to record willing donors, people’s wishes easily become unknown.
Consequently, over 40% of families reject organ donations due to unawareness.
In 2020, a healthcare reform bill to change to an opt-out system failed.
In 2023, donor numbers reached a decade low.
For their 20th anniversary, Junge Helden, Germany’s leading organ donation awareness association, asked for a nationwide campaign that sparked conversations about the topic and its obstacles (opt-in barrier, lack of documentation, informing families).
Only 0,001% of Germans donate their organs.
But 1 in 4 Germans are inked.
Enter #OPTINK: a free tattoo that allows people to ‘opt-in’ for organ donation and spark conversations with final decision-makers, families.
An innovative solution to express consent by documenting it on your skin, becoming indisputable proof of will. On a technical level, we also converted the standard tattoo consent form into an organ donation one.
Teaming up with acclaimed tattoo artist Gara, #OPTINK taps into two key decision-making factors for ink-enthusiasts: design and meaning.
Launched at tattoo conventions and events, featuring zero-budget partnerships with celebrities, doctors and especially tattoo studios, #OPTINK took over social media and opened the discussion about a neglected topic.
By leveraging the power of communities, #OPTINK turned ink-lovers and tattoo artists into advocates for our cause and tattoo studios into organ donor recruitment centers.
1 #OPTINK = 7 lives saved.
Organ donation is a neglected topic in Germany.
To normalize it, our strategy was hijacking a nationwide trendy conversation: tattoos.
The love for tattoos reached a stage where 1 in 4 Germans are inked – among 20–29-year-olds, Junge Helden’s (Young Heroes, in English) primary target, the number rises to 47%.
#OPTINK is at the same time recognizable and desirable, with a highly shareable potential for containing the two most important aspects for ink lovers: design and meaning.
A campaign with the CTA “Get inked. Give life.” grabbed the attention of tattoo artists, A-List celebrities, and the medical world, managing to enter ink lovers’ feeds.
Through social media assets, a dedicated website and a campaign that turned the ink community into our main advocates, we were noticed by both local and national media and managed to become a catalyst for the normalization of organ donation as an everyday life topic.
#OPTINK was launched on one of Germany’s top tattoo conventions in Braunschweig. For a weekend, the #OPTINK stand was fully booked, and its design won a Mention at the event’s award show.
After that introduction to the specialized audience, a launch event with extensive media coverage and A-List celebrities getting inked live drove the idea to more and more people.
At this moment, artists and studios started joining the campaign and giving it exponential growth: they would share their interpretations, which then would be inked in people who would share them on social, constantly increasing the campaign’s reach.
In under 2 months, the campaign recorded an astounding +3000 tattoos according to the partner studios, with some studios registering over 50 daily requests, while others had six-month long waitlists.
On a zero-budget plan, #OPTINK gained track and impacted millions of ink-lovers, becoming a tattoo hit in the country.
The campaign is an on-going effort for the future of Germany’s organ donation system, but #OPTINK has already gathered nationwide results:
+250 tattoo studios converted into organ donor recruitment centers
+2500 tattoos so far, on average +70 a day.
+17500 potential lives saved (1 donor = +7 organs = +7 lives saved)
Time spent with brand: Forever.
Endorsed by A-List German celebrities such as Wilson Gonzalez Ochsenknecht, Roman Knizka, Leslie Clio, Jan Köppen and Jochen Schropp.
+1.2 Billion free impressions, with primetime coverage on TV and major press nationwide
Shared by top-tier medical entities, e.g., German Federal Centre for Health Education, National Organ Donor Day, Charité Hospital Heart Center, West German Center for Organ Transplantation, and the Official federal portal for German pharmacists…
From a 15% loss in social media followers prior to the campaign, to a 100% growth in 8 weeks following #Optink