Authentic Helps Organ Donation Go Viral on Facebook

Authentic Helps Organ Donation Go Viral on Facebook

Brad Perry

Authentic recently worked with the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to launch a PSA video on Facebook. We helped it go viral without any spending on social media placement. How do we define “viral”? Nearly 9 million organic views. More than 150,000+ organic shares. And 1,200+ heartwarming comments from organ donors, transplant recipients, and their loved ones. Here’s how we helped make it happen.

When UNOS asked us to help them post their first public service announcement spot in 20 years, we were honored. They handed us an incredibly moving video produced by Cannes Grand Prix winner Damien Toogood, and requested our guidance for the best way to optimize it for Facebook.

The spot, based on true stories of organ donation, follows a middle-aged man ticking through a series of bucket list experiences that don’t quite fit a man his age–getting a blue Mohawk, playing drums in a punk band, and staying out all night, to name a few. The true purpose of his adventures is revealed in a tear-jerking closing scene. We knew as soon as we saw it (and tried not to cry in front of each other), that there was potential for it to go viral. But more than that, we knew there was a fresh opportunity to build a strong connection between the brand and its audience, which would translate into more organ donors and more changed lives.

Our team here at Authentic edited the video for the Facebook feed, creating a version of the story that would draw people in without audio, told a mobile-friendly story, and utilized a square format instead of the typical rectangle to take up more real estate in people's social feeds to stop those scrolling thumbs.

In the end it was just a matter of making this great story pop and ultimately resonate for distracted people watching it on their Facebook app. And we couldn’t be happier about UNOS getting this overwhelmingly positive response before ever spending a dime on media.

UNOS is releasing alternate versions of the spot in paid placements in numerous television markets, on YouTube, and through Facebook’s advertising network. Fun fact: The spot also features a moving remix of Metric’s 2008 hit single "Help I’m Alive."

Here's the original viral post on the UNOS Facebook page. Be sure to check out the comments—and be sure to have a box of tissues nearby.