Neve Campbell brings scream queen knowledge to Red Cross horror PSA

Horror-themed spot addresses the American Red Cross's summer blood shortage

Published On
Jul 28, 2022

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It’s been a spooky summer in adland. Recently, Ford promoted its “scary fast” new vehicle, KFC its chicken pizza crust and Netflix its undead “Resident Evil” series with horrific short films and terrifying activations. DoorDash even partnered with Tribeca studios to create its own thriller short. Luckily, we might just make it out alive as one scream queen is putting her knowledge of scary movies to use—and for a good cause.

Neve Campbell, star of the “Scream” movie franchise, knows every horror villain’s playbook by heart. In a new ad for the American Red Cross, she starts running up a staircase before pausing to think twice.

“Why am I running from the killer instead of grabbing something big and sharp?” she asks to the camera before whispering, “Dumb!” and walking the other direction. Other generic horror scenes play out—a cheerleader being stalked at camp, two young people watching a shadow approach at the local parking spot, a woman babysitting with a prison escapee cannibal on the loose.

As each character seals their fate with a counterintuitive decision, they wonder why they’re choosing to waste so much blood. Campbell explains that “lots of people need blood, whether they’re fighting cancer, or giving birth or, say, potentially getting stabbed,” but while “50% of Americans like watching blood get spilled in horror movies, what’s scary is that only 3% donate it.”

The hilarious satire sheds light on a recurring issue of blood shortages during the summer months, when the prime donors who contribute 25% of donations attend high school and college blood drives are on vacation. 

“This summer the Red Cross is experiencing a dramatic decrease in the number of donations coming in, yet the need for blood continues,” said Selma Bouhl, VP of marketing for Red Cross, in a statement. “It’s critical that we expand our message and reach new audiences to both educate and motivate them to become blood donors—but that’s difficult to do in today’s fragmented media environment and endless content.  By tapping into audiences’ passion for horror movies and using Neve Campbell’s star power, we hope to break through the noise to inspire a new generation of blood donors.” 

The spot, created by agency BBDO New York and directed by Division7’s Matt Spicer ("Ingrid Goes West," "Angelyne" and the upcoming "I Heart Murder"), with cinematography by Caleb Heymann ("Stranger Things"). It's supported by social content, including a filter that predicts the user’s cliched horror death—with the alternative of saving that blood for a donation.

“We knew we had a script that would stand out, but the people that helped us bring it to life really took it to the next level,” said Victor Roa, creative director at BBDO New York, in a statement. “We had a Hollywood director, the director of photography of the latest season of ‘Stranger Things,’ and one of the most well-known stars in the horror movie genre, on top of some amazing production partners.”