What Was Old Is New Again

How repurposed content can breathe life into an aging campaign

About the Project

Life LogoNational Donor Day is February 14, but in Virginia, the Donate Life community devotes the entire month to celebrating registered organ donors for their decision to give life.

Donate Life Virginia’s SayYES campaign first launched in 2016 as a digital marketing initiative that aligned with the Valentine’s Day theme of love and friendship, as well as a familiar call to action: to say “YES.” By December that year, registrations were up 12.6% and the grassroots movement to Say YES was born.

But by its 3rd year, campaign was due for a refresh. The facts and figures needed updating and some of the stories were in danger of becoming stale. We needed to find new ways to connect with potential donors.


We had a great campaign that resonated. Rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, we analyzed all of the creative developed in 2016 for the initial “Say YES” launch and pulled the best content. We added to its library a few snippets from a mini-documentary shot in 2018, some new stories, updated infographics and suddenly, we had our new and improved campaign. Say YES, 2.0., if you will.

VANCE Approach GraphicCreative costs for the multimedia marketing effort were nil, which left more time and budget for targeted PPC campaigns and media relations outreach to inspire Virginians still on the fence about donation to “Say YES” and register.

In addition to mining for existing creative assets we also tapped into Donate Life Virginia’s passionate advocacy base to find compelling regional stories to help us illustrate the impact of organ donation in the Commonwealth.

These stories, paired with vibrant creative content, powered the campaign, championing the Say YES message across paid, earned, shared and owned channels. This approach is simply modern day marketing and conveyed exceptionally well in what is called a PESO model, the brainchild of legendary multimarketing expert (and all-round terrific human being), Gini Dietrich, CEO at SpinSucks.com.

Owned Media (Content that you create)

Suffolk rallies for teen heart recipient

When you’re talking about life and death, the stories can be as sobering as they are uplifting. Thanks to passionate advocates within the Donate Life community in Virginia, we had access to a wealth of real-life stories that could inspire the most cynical among us to pay it forward.

VANCE produced 3 stories for Lifeline in February 2018, each of which offered a different perspective on the impact of organ donation and featured residents from multiple Virginia markets. And, in keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme, all 3 stories were related specifically to heart transplants.

The stories:

All Heart: Suffolk rallies for teen heart recipient
(An anonymous donor inspires a small Virginia community to pay it forward).

One heart and the will to stay positive
(A grieving mom in Roanoke talks about her friendship with the recipient of her son’s heart).

One more day: Richmond toddler waits for a heart
(A Richmond family shares what it’s like to wait for “the call”).

We also produced a documentary-style video featuring Jasmine Chalmers, a 14-year old heart transplant recipient from Suffolk, Virginia. Jasmine’s story had been featured on Lifeline†when she first shared her experience as a teen on the waiting list in 2016. We learned that Jasmine received a heart transplant shortly after that interview, but that it was followed by a series of triumphs and setbacks. Thankfully, members of her church, the Sheriff’s department and Jasmine’s school quickly stepped up to help. The story is meant to illustrate how one person can make a lasting impact on many.

Earned Media (publicity)

Since the Lifeline stories featured residents from Richmond, Norfolk and Roanoke media markets. Each of these stories was picked up by a major media outlet in their respective market.

On National Donor Day, Suffolk family celebrates the gift of life
February 14, 2018 – Todd Corrillo, WTKR

Hanover parents pray for a new heart as son fights for his life
February 14, 2018 – Laura French, CBS6

After Lukie Dillon died in Salem, his family got to hear his heart beat again
February 23, 2018 – Amy Freidenberger, The†Roanoke†Times

Shared Media (Building relationships and partnerships online)

Donate Life Virginia has an enthusiastic base that loves to promote the cause. We simply needed to support our champions with content and a little direction.  We stayed connected with members of the Donate Life community via that Lifeline e-newsletter. We briefed subscribers about the campaign, shared Lifeline†stories and appealed to them to help spread the word throughout the month of February.

Among the library of content and tools we provided to support the Say YES campaign, was a simple digital overlay Facebook users could use to tell others they “said YES.”

Paid Media (Paid advertising and sponsorships)

Even in the best circumstances, brands are still up against a deafening amount of content online. A small budget for PPC ads on Google and Facebook can go a long way in terms of being seen and heard, and even further if your content is compelling.

The Say YES digital initiative focused on 3 key objectives:

  • Drive leads to registration landing page
  • Build e-news subscription list
  • Fuel advocacy/brand awareness
Shared Media - Old content, new multimedia marketing campaign

While shooting “Because of You” in 2018, we asked our interview subjects to also film a short spot that could be used for digital promotion. One compilation shows the person saying “I said YES” and the second shows them prompting Virginians to “Say YES.” These ads were complemented by the informative motion graphics video, produced first in 2016, illustrating powerful statistics about the impact of organ donation in Virginia.

The Takeaway

You don’t have to start from scratch. Repurposing your best content can transform an old campaign into something new.


Sessions up 79% (4,140 to 7,426)
New Users up 46% (3,176 to 4,624)
Impressions up 57% (300,388 to 526,567)
Video views up 146% (4301 to 24,428)
Social engagement up 60% (8,690 to 14,507)

804-424-1475   |   1657 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220   |   hello@vanceagency.com