Birthdays are seen as an occasion to donate. While donation in itself is considered to be righteous, blood donation could only make birthday donation more significant. A commercial by the BBC World Service Trust for the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) currently on air motivates people to donate blood on such occasions.
The TV commercial opens on a man stepping in late for an interview. The smug interviewer, along with his lady personal assistant, questions the protagonist on his late arrival. The latter reveals that he had some important work to do, on which the man and his assistant are taken by surprise -they wonder what could be more important than being on time for a job interview.
When quizzed, the interviewee replies that it's his birthday, which is why he was late. On the face of a caustic remark from the interviewer, the protagonist brings out that every year, he donates blood on his birthday. Both the boss and his assistant are taken aback after hearing this and the interviewee is offered a seat with much respect. The film closes on the protagonist saying into the camera that blood donation leaves one feeling good.
Safe blood is a key area in HIV prevention. To ensure that licensed blood banks have adequate reserves of safe blood, the campaign aims to encourage the youth to donate blood.
Mayank Agarwal, joint director, IEC, NACO brings out that the brief was about blood donation being a way to give a new life to someone. "Linking blood donation to birthdays was about blood donation actually giving someone a new life and rebirth," he says.
However, he says that voluntary blood donation is a hurdle as the perception is that blood donation leads to weakness. "Targeting the youth actively, we are looking at bringing out the positive points of donating blood - giving new life to someone and rejuvenation of blood cells each time one donates blood."
The film has been produced by Film Farm and directed by Piyush Raghani. The trust has also set up a Facebook page, Of Birds and Bees, where fans of the page can express their feedbacks on the ad.