This Valentine’s Day, Why Not Discuss Organ Donation?

London-based agency Aesop wants to change your dinner date conversation.

This Valentine’s Day, Why Not Discuss Organ Donation?


Love is . . . joining the U.K.’s National Health Service Organ Donor Register, according to a new advertising campaign created to get people talking about organ donation this Valentine’s Day.

Through a series of online films, the “Better Left Unsaid” campaign created by London-based brand storytelling agency Aesop features a montage of inappropriate topics discussed by couples on romantic dinner dates—from fancying the waitress to underwear chafing (and even worse).

“For many people, raising the subject of organ donations is not an easy thing to do. So Valentine’s Day—a time spent with your loved one—is as good a time as any,” says Stephen Lynch, creative director at the agency, which made the films for NHS Blood and Transplant.

Boosting sign up to the donor register is a challenging brief given the low rate of organ donation in the U.K., which has one of the lowest organ donation consent rates in Europe.

One reason for this is people’s reluctance to discuss their wishes with next of kin, who, in England, are currently required to confirm consent for any organ donation.

This led the agency to consider things couples talk and won’t talk about.


“It would have been easy to resort to tired puns like ‘giving you my heart’ or ‘I only have eyes for you,’ but we wanted to avoid this at all costs,” Lynch explains.

“Organ donation isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when out for a romantic meal, so we knew we had to create something that would stand out, and humor seemed like the perfect way to spark the conversation and normalize the subject.”

The campaign message is that, unlike those topics couples should not talk about while out on a date, organ donation can—and should—be openly discussed.

The films, directed by Ben Sedley through Generator Films, are part of the NHS’s ongoing work to normalize conversations about organ donation.

About the author

Meg Carter is a UK-based freelance journalist who has written widely on all aspects of branding, media, marketing & creativity for a wide range of outlets including The Independent, Financial Times and Guardian newspapers, New Media Age and Wired.