Australian Red Cross Blood Service and C&P reveal why the meaning of life is 42

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams wrote that the number 42 is “the answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything”.

But in doing so, he left a whole generation of fans wondering: 42 what?

A new campaign created by Cummins&Partners for the Australian Red Cross Blood Service aims to answer that question once and for all  – and in the process, create awareness of and drive action around Australia’s need for regular blood donors.

Samantha Bartlett, Marketing Director at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service explains:

“Most Australians are aware that giving blood is a good thing to do, but what they might not know is that their donation has a finite shelf-life… From the moment they donate, it has just 42 days to get to someone in need. It’s why we don’t just need people to donate today; we need them to donate regularly.”

Since the publication of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the number 42 has made regular appearances in popular culture, as an Easter egg in films and TV shows such as Iron Man, The Big Bang Theory and Lost. Scientists have also named asteroids, computer science labs and even parts of the Large Hadron Collider after the number. But until now, no one has been able to explain exactly why the number 42 is so significant.

Tom Ward, Chief Strategy Officer at Cummins&Partners said:

“We’re not sure whether Douglas Adams was a blood donor or not, but the fact that 42 also happens to be the exact shelf life of a blood donation is either a coincidence of galactic proportions, or the answer we’ve all been searching for. It’s also a great way to educate Australians about the perishable nature of blood, and encourage them to make regular donations.”

As well as creative duties, Cummins&Partners have also handled media strategy and buying and for the campaign, which kicked off off last week with a teaser campaign that included skywriting, street posters and stencils in major cities featuring the mysterious number 42. This was followed by the reveal of the full film on Sunday night, explaining the true meaning of the number and its link to blood donation. Radio, digital and OOH will also be in market over the next month, encouraging Australians to become regular blood donors.