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You may have noticed that the signage and packaging of a number of high-profile places and brands have looked a little less populated than usual over the last few days. The letters A, O and B appear to have gone missing, leaving confused consumers guessing: why the gaps?

Waterstones’ Trafalgar Square shop lost its A and O, and Green & Blacks Organic removed its Os and Bs from its Blood Orange chocolate bar. Meanwhile, Odeon dimmed the Os at its flagship cinema in Leicester Square, and the Downing Street sign also read a little strangely, with its O appearing to have gone astray too.

So, what’s the meaning behind the lack of letters? The alphabetic absence is all part of the latest campaign by NHS Blood and Transplant, which persuaded the brands and places to remove the letters from their name ahead of National Blood Week, which starts today. The Daily Mirror has also shown support for the health service, by omitting its A and O from the front page of today’s paper.

The campaign, entitled ‘Missing Type’, aims to promote the fact that if not enough people donate these blood types in the next few years, there won’t be enough blood available for patients in need.

The NHS not only aims to raise awareness via well-known brands and landmarks; the campaign will also be backed up by a social media campaign. The public will be called upon to help spread the word by losing letters from their online profiles and posting images of people supporting blood donation, using the hashtag #MissingType. PR activity targeted at TV, radio, print and digital media will also accompany the campaign, with case studies and research reinforcing the powerful message.

We can’t be sure that the clever campaign will lead to the NHS fulfilling its aim of replacing more than 204,000 donors who cannot give blood anymore. However, I for one am sold by the simplicity of the message and the inspired method of its promotion.

So, are you going to join me in donating blood to fill the gaps?