How Montefiore Is Crafting Personalized Ads for Patients Seeking Organ Donors

Alto develops a template of hope

Twenty-one patients who need kidney or liver transplants die every day, and only one in five such cases ultimately find living donors. Montefiore-Einstein Hospital System in New York seeks to improve those odds with "Live and Let Live," a digital platform that uses simple prompts and A.I. tools to help patients tell their stories across multiple media.

Creative agency Alto developed the system, along with an emotionally charged video from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Derek Cianfrance (Sound of Metal). Designed to demonstrate the product experience, this tale of a child desperate for a fresh chance at life is fictitious...

Live and Let Live

...while Maida Larriuz really does need a kidney—and she used "Live and Let Live" to get the word out:

Maida Is Seeking a Living Donor | Montefiore Einstein Center for Transplantation

Montefiore patients, or their friends and family, input images, audio and video—augmented by stock assets as needed—and the system weaves the materials into film, social, print and OOH content designed for sharing. The technology formats films for YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook. It even generates posters and flyers.

Thus, those needing transplants can craft polished, compelling ad campaigns to help them connect with prospective donors. Adoption services have long used similar tactics to find matches for kids and pets.

A few years back, Montefiore raised the bar for organ-donor appeals with its Grand Clio-winning film Corazón. More recently, the hospital and Alto memorably celebrated healthcare heroes who stood tall in the face of Covid-19.

Below, Muse chats with Alto managing partner, entertainment and production, Matt Bonin about "Live and Let Live."

Muse: Is the platform live? How many folks have made films?

Matt Bonin: There was a short beta phase for the platform prior to full launch. Eight patients from Montefiore-Einstein created their stories as part of that test. It will open to the roughly 1,500 Montefiore-Einstein patients on the transplant waiting list shortly. What will be important for the patients is spreading their stories far and wide to help generate the largest pool of living organ donors possible. You can see some of these stories at, and more will be added soon.

How did the concept develop?

The idea was born from the realization of what was naturally occurring across the country: People in need of a life-saving kidney or liver transplants were essentially advertising for living donors. They are turning their cars into mobile advertisements or even buying billboard space in Times Square. Not everyone can afford the cost of something like a billboard, so it was important to make our idea accessible to everyone.

So, basically, you're helping folks in desperate need create personalized campaigns?

Alto has always believed that storytelling and craft is tantamount for helping brands. In this instance, we believed we could help the patients on the waiting list by allowing them to craft their personal stories beautifully and with emotion. Making people feel something is very often the motivator for convincing them to do something.

In a world of phone and webcams, is a specialized platform really necessary?

This first step of "the big ask" is one of the most daunting for the patients. Imagine yourself in their shoes. You've learned you're in need of a life-saving organ, but where do you start? How do you start? What if you don't have the resources to create a film or spread your message? We hope this helps them tell their story and share, with their families and communities, their personal reasons why they want to live.

How did the Cianfrance spot develop?

The film shares the story of Nini Skye. Her story is based on an amalgamation of real Montefiore patient stories. When it came to finding a filmmaker to helm the project, Derek Cianfrance was at the top of our list. As a director, his ability for empathy is beautiful, his drive for honesty in storytelling unrelenting. With only visual fragments to build a character around, we needed to ensure they had pure authenticity and didn't feel staged or contrived. Derek's entire body of work is anchored around authentic performances, and from the first conversation with him, his insistence on paring away all artifice and leaving only the genuine childlike magic of our little, brilliant actor hooked us.

As if predestined by film gods, on the final shot of day two, at Coney Island, on Lynn's Trapeze, with DP Zoe Simmone strapped backwards into a swing, rain began falling on Nini Skye. In that moment, being splashed as she spun in lopsided arcs, with a verite camera trained on her, the joy she's feeling is totally honest. We felt it, too.

It sounds like this project really came from the heart...

Occasionally, you are offered the opportunity to not just solve a creative problem, but to meaningfully impact people's lives. Because there are so many potential factors to matching a living organ donor to a recipient, the pool of donors must be fairly large to end in success. We hope the tool leads to many successful living organ donations and procedures.



Live and Let Live
Digital Platform and Campaign

Loreen Babcock - Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

Alto New York
Hannes Ciatti - Chief Creative Officer, Founder    
Matt Bonin - Head of Entertainment + Production, Partner
Ed Rogers - Managing Director, Partner
Tara Fray - Head of Strategy, Partner
Paul Aaron - Digital Strategy
Dan Kroeger - Creative Director
Pierre Janneau - Creative Director
Filipe Nogueira - Art Director
Jenny Bahn - Copywriter
Josh Litwhiler - Executive Producer, Film
Amber Wimmer - Head of Digital Production

Jonathan Percy - Executive Producer, Digital
Julia Menassa - Director of Art Production
Megan Bowen - Group Brand Director

Radical Media
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Executive Producers: Gregg Carlesimo
Head of Production: Frank Dituri
Producer: Clint Caluory
Production Supervisor: Katie Trimper
Director of Photography: Zoe Simone
Casting Director: Jennifer Venditti

Trim Editing
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Executive Producer / Managing Director: Maura Woodward
Executive Producer: Anne Lai
Assistant Editor: Tony LaRocca

Company 3
Colorist - Sofie Borup
Producer - Alexanda Lubrano

VFX/Animation/Design Supervisor - Matt Eller // Afternoon, Inc

Composer - Ludovico Einaudi
Executive Producer - Sara Matarazzo // Walker
Sound Design & Mix Engineer - Dan Flosdorf // Barking Owl

Composer - Dustin O'Halloran 
Executive Producer - Ashley Benton
Sound Design & Mix Engineer - Dan Flosdorf // Barking Owl

Personalized Video Production and website experience
Key Roles
Interactive Director: Jason Nickel 
Technical Director: Greg Webber
Back End Developer: Josh McGrath
Server Support: Zack Brenton

Managing Partners: Thomas Ragger, Matthias Mentasti, Thomas Lichtblau
Lead Project Manager: Jennifer Kölbl
Project Manager: Ellen Marek
Developers: Claudio Mindouro, Edoardo Lunardi, Lorenzo Migliorero
UX/UI Director: Raphael Loder

Lead Project Manager: Jeff Diecks
Project Managers: Bruce Clingan, Jaclyn Fischer 
VP of Technical Operations: Jay Callicott 
Lead Architect: Mario Angulo
Developer: Brittany Huntzberry
Senior QA Analyst: Andrew Messenger
QA Analyst: Casey Wilson

Photographer: Geordie Wood 
Production Company/Agent: Webber Represents
Photo Producer: Olivia Gouveia

Retoucher: Hempstead May 
Studio Production: Box Graphics Inc.

Illustrator (Website): Camilo Huinca
Agent: Agent Pekka

Illustrator (Patient Stories): Louis Wes
Agent: Jacky Winter

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