In a Country With Few Organ Donors, an Agency Transplanted a Kidney Between 2 Soap Operas

Circus Grey in Peru organized a life-saving pop culture crossover

A character in Peruvian soap opera Senores Papis received a live-saving transplant from a character killed on another show. - Credit by Circus Grey
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Peru has one of the world’s lowest rates of organ donation, with fewer than 2 residents per 1 million Peruvians donating after death. (By comparison, Spain sees 46 per million and the U.S. 32 per million donate organs after death.)

To help raise Peru off the lowest tier of the international donor pool, agency Circus Grey worked with the Ministry of Health and the América Televisión network to come up with an organ-donation storyline that would reach across two of the country’s most popular soap operas.

When a character was killed on Ojitos Hechiceros 2, Peru’s most-watched soap, a doctor mentioned one bright side—that he had been an organ donor. A few days later, that same doctor put in a call to a character on a different telenovela, Señores Papis, informing him that he would receive a kidney from a man who’d been recently killed.

The agency says millions of viewers watched these plot twists, which obviously centered on the importance of organ donation, and Circus Grey hopes the resulting discussion and publicity will spark more residents to register as donors.

Organ donation has become one of the most creatively vibrant areas of advocacy advertising in recent years.

Most recently, McCann and Donate Life California created a program called “Second Chances,” through which drivers pulled over for minor traffic violations were let off with a warning—if they were organ donors.

Donate Life and The Martin Agency’s 2016 short film about the World’s Biggest Asshole showed the redemptive power of organ donation, while the “Second Life Toys” project by Dentsu creatives that same year replaced stuffed animals’ missing parts to promote the need for child organ donors. New York’s Montefiore Health System and agency JohnXHannes won a Grand Prix at the 2018 Cannes Lions with their 43-minute film called Corazón, which was created solely to promote organ donation.


Clients: Ministry of Health Perú and América TV
Agency: Circus Grey
CCO: José Luis Rivera y Piérola
ECD: Charlie Tolmos
Creative Directors: Mario Neumann, Ricardo Baracco
Copywriter: Jordán Cáceres
Art Director: Patricio Vargas
Account Director: Valeria Malone
Production Director: Vanessa Gómez
Production: Mayte Angulo, Ximena Rojas
Postproduction: Edson Ku, Miguel Chiesa

Del Barrio Producciones:
CEO: Michelle Alexander
Executive producer: Adriana Alvarez
CRO: André Silva

Canica Films
Videographer and direction: Verónica Vásquez
Videographer: Sergio DiNegro
Videographer: Angel Nuñez
Videographer: Enzo Zevallos
Sound: Gianmarco Rodriguez

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@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."