Opt Ink Campaign Transforms Tattoo Studios in Germany Into Organ Donation Opt-in Centers

The idea turns a regular tattoo consent form into an organ donation consent form, making #OPTINK act as proof of will.

Every year, around 10,000 Germans await an organ transplant. However, due to a lack of donors, three of them die every day. According to a new public awareness campaign, this is a surprising stat given that 84% of citizens say they are willing to donate, but less so once we see the real number of donors: only 0,001% of the population – a number that puts Germany among the lowest organ donation rates in Europe.

This discrepancy, says the campaign, can be attributed to the fact that Germany has not succeeded in passing “opt-out” legislation and remains an “opt-in” country for organ donations. Moreover, in Germany, there is no national register for organ donors. The current law requires individuals to show explicit proof of consent to become donors. A proof that can take any shape or form.

One in four Germans has a tattoo.


Enter #OPTINK, a free tattoo that makes you an organ donor. Created by organ donation awareness organization Junge Helden and McCann, the tattoo was designed by prominent Berlin-based tattoo artist Gara to be immediately recognizable, scalable, and easily interpreted by other artists.

The idea turns a regular tattoo consent form into an organ donation consent form, making #OPTINK act as a proof of will. Above all, the tattoo is a conversation starter and a statement to family members, making them aware of the person’s opt-in donor status – which is crucial, since relatives hold the final decision.

#OPTINK’s minimal geometric design reveals a half circle juxtaposed against another half to become a whole, symbolizing the gift of life that is organ donation. Promoted through a campaign with the motto “Get inked. Give life”, the initiative allows Germans to get inked with the tattoo for free at tattoo studios and events around the country.


The program was first introduced at one of Germany’s most important tattoo events: Die Tattoo Convention in Braunschweig. The #OPTINK booth was not only fully booked for its entire duration, but the design also received an Honorable Mention in the convention’s contest.

#OPTINK was then launched nationwide at Junge Helden’s 20th anniversary event, in the presence of the medical community, celebrities and well-established tattoo artists. The campaign arrives on the heels of the 3rd anniversary of German parliament’s rejection of a bill to change donor policy from “opt-in” to “opt-out,” which would make everyone donors by default.

So far, the campaign has already managed to turn tattoo studios all over the country into organ donation recruitment centers and record over 100 tattoos, which represent a potential of over 700 lives saved.

For more information, the entire list of partners and participants and where to get inked, visit www.junge-helden.org/optink


Agency Credits

McCann Paris
McCann Germany
Weber Shandwick Germany
MRM Germany
MRM London
McCann Erickson Worldwide

Production Credits

CRAFT Germany

Client Credits

Junge Helden e.V.
Anna Barbara Sum
Nicolas Höfer

Team Credits:

Adrian Botan: Global ECD, CCO McCann Europe, McCann Erickson Worldwide
Julien Calot: Chief Creative Officer, McCann Paris
Cedric Astrella: Executive Creative Director, McCann Paris
Farah El Feghali: Creative Director, McCann Paris
Mateo Fernandez: Creative Director, McCann Paris
Goetz Ulmer: Chief Creative Officer, McCann Worldgroup Germany
Donovan Bryan: Executive Creative Director, McCann Germany
Goncalo Gameiro: Art Director, McCann Paris
Gabriel Abrucio: Senior Copywriter, McCann Paris
Schakir Islamow: Senior Copywriter, McCann Germany
Bjoern Seib: Creative Director, McCann Germany
Guto Kono: Associate Creative Director, McCann Germany
Jan Wilhelm: Account Director, McCann Germany
Alexandra Znaty: Head of Project Management, McCann Paris
Hajar El Kalaji: Account Director, McCann Paris
Julia Suedholter: Senior Manager Media Relations, Weber Shandwick Berlin
Dominik Hennes: Senior Manager, Client Experience Digital, Weber Shandwick Berlin
Susan Kobs: Senior Manager, Business Development & Marketing, Weber Shandwick Berlin
Ilan Schaefer: CEO, Weber Shandwick Germany
Alice Reindlova: PR & Communication Manager, McCann EMEA
Petra Strobl: Chief Communication and Culture Officer, McCann Germany
Carmen Bistrian: Global Lead, Director of Product Excellence, McCann Worldgroup
Connie Bedenk: Creative Excellence Manager, McCann Worldgroup Germany
Etienne Philippe: Motion Designer, McCann Paris
Launde Morel: Interactive Designer, McCann Paris
Pierre-Jean Bernard: Social Media Manager, McCann Paris
Carsten Schneider: Grouphead Web Development, MRM Germany
Keith Charlton: Software Engineer, MRM London
Behzad Noroozi: Technical Director, MRM London
Justine Maroux: Chief Project Manager Digital, McCann Paris
Duc-Huy Tran: Project Director Digital, McCann Paris
Darren Jones: Group Experience Director, MRM Germany
Chris Taylor: Lead Front-End Developer, MRM London
Constantin Muehlenhaupt: Junior Account Manager, McCann Germany

Tattoo Artist

Gara @ Der Grimm Tattoo


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