In true horror film fashion, the series will resume its torture killings on Oct. 27 with an R-rated eighth installment titled “Jigsaw.” Yes we are talking about the saw series, a franchise with roughly $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales.
But the interesting fact here is the Lionsgate’s decision to promote “Jigsaw” by shaking an angry fist at America’s blood-donation regulations. Before donating, they have to forgo same-sex sexual encounters for at least a year, a contentious precaution resulting from concerns about HIV.
On Sunday, the studio’s chief brand officer, Tim Palen, began rolling out an online ad campaign called “All Types Welcome.” The campaign has eight social media stars with large gay, bisexual and transgender fan bases — including Shaun Ross, an openly gay model, and Amanda Lepore, the transgender night life diva — dressed as off-kilter nurses and encouraging people to donate blood in preparation for “Jigsaw.” The blood drive starts on Oct. 5 in New York and expands to 25 cities in the following weeks.
Lionsgate initially came up with the idea in 2004 to generate buzz for the first “Saw.” Perhaps inspired by William Castle, the 1950s-era horror film director and promotional gimmick king, who once sent nurses to theaters in case anyone died of fright, Mr. Palen organized similar blood drives for the next five “Saw” movies. By 2009, these stunts, each with a different nurse theme, resulted in so many donations — some 120,000 pints — that the American Red Cross gave him an award.
But times change, and Mr. Palen is now taking a more antagonistic approach. “All Types Welcome” is a condemnation of blood donation rules set by the Food and Drug Administration that prohibit most gay or bisexual men from giving; before donating, they have to forgo same-sex sexual encounters for at least a year, a contentious precaution resulting from concerns about H.I.V.
The Red Cross, the nation’s largest blood supplier, has also drawn fire for its approach to transgender donors. Until recently, federal guidelines recommended that trans people be required to register at blood centers under the gender they were assigned at birth.
“The Red Cross believes all potential blood donors should be treated with fairness, equality and respect,” Jodi D. Sheedy, a Red Cross spokeswoman, said in an email.
The “Saw” nurses were an early example of what Hollywood types now like to call “world building.” There are no major nurse characters in the movies (some of which are also not particularly bloody). Rather, Mr. Palen’s creations are meant to add a layer of immersion for fans. The first “Saw” nurse was a Lionsgate executive; Mr. Palen took her photo in his backyard and posted the image online to promote the blood drive.
In a snapshot of how powerful the internet has come as a marketing tool, Lionsgate now has roughly 420 million followers on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. To gain additional reach for the “All Types Welcome” effort, Mr. Palen recruited the eight social media stars. “Everyone’s making content, everyone’s a creator, everyone has a microphone,” he said. “So to have the nurse campaign play in that space and have personalities feel some ownership in the campaign felt like a great way to evolve.”
The details and the location are listed below:
- ATLANTA // 10/19 // 8AM - 5PM // GEORGIA TECH STUDENT CENTER BALLROOM
- BOSTON // 10/12, 9AM - 3PM // 10/18, 8AM - 5PM // COPLEY SQUARE (MOBILE); KRAFT FAMILY BLOOD DONOR CENTER
- CHICAGO // 10/10 // TIMES TBD // HOLLYWOOD BLVD THEATER
- CINCINNATI // 10/13 // 8:30AM - 3PM // HOXWORTH NORTH
- CLEVELAND // 10/17 // 12PM - 4PM // CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY
- DALLAS // 10/23 // 10AM - 4PM // UNT STUDENT UNION JADE EAGLE BALLROOM
- DENVER // 10/10 // 11AM - 3PM // GOTT-A-COSTUME SUPERSTORE
- DETROIT // 10/17 // 12PM - 5PM // 200 N MAIN ST, ROYAL OAK, MI 48067
- HOUSTON // 10/25 // 12PM - 6PM // 7620 KATY FWY. HOUSTON, TX 77024
- INDIANAPOLIS // 10/13 // 1PM - 4PM // 10617 EAST WASHINGTON ST.
- LOS ANGELES // 10/17, 10/18 // 11AM - 5PM // ACKERMAN STUDENT UNION DONOR CENTER
- LOS ANGELES // 10/19, 10/20 // 11AM - 5PM // WESTWOOD VILLAGE DONOR CENTER
- MINNEAPOLIS // 10/10 // 12PM - 5PM // SIGMA NU - UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
- NEW ORLEANS // 10/21 // 7PM - 11PM // THE MORTUARY
- NEW YORK // 10/5, 10/7, 10/8 // 10AM - 4PM // 11TH AVE AND WEST 36TH STREET
- OKLAHOMA CITY // 10/10 // 11AM - 4PM // UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA
- PHOENIX // 10/23, 10/24 // 9AM - 4:30PM // ASU SUN DEVIL FITNESS CENTER (SDFC) MAROON
- PITTSBURGH // 10/24 // 4PM - 7PM // DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH LOCATION
- SACRAMENTO // 10/13 // 6AM - 2PM // RIVERS EDGE CAFÉ
- SAN DIEGO // 10/24 // 8AM - 6PM // VIEJAS ARENA
- SEATTLE // 10/20 // 10AM - 1PM // UW HEALTH SCIENCES
- ST. LOUIS // 10/14, 10/21 // TIMES TBD // 6388 DELMAR BLVD, UNIVERSITY CITY, MO 63130
You can have more details here