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Clever Creative: The Heart of the Matter

Donate Life's "The World's Biggest A**hole" ad is brash, bold and frank, and we love it.

Clever Creative: The Heart of the Matter

Posted Tuesday August 09th, 2016 by in Creativity + Art.

Have you ever come across a person and just thought to yourself, “This may just be the world’s biggest a**hole.” In today’s Clever Creative, you’re going to meet Coleman F. Sweeney, a man who puts all other a-holes to shame. The new ad, produced by The Martin Agency, for Donate Life depicts how even the “World’s Biggest A**hole” can redeem himself through organ donation. This campaign was created because apparently the millennial generation, particularly males, tend not to register as organ donors. There are over 120,000 men, women and children who need organ transplants each year, and, unfortunately, about 22 people per day die because they don’t receive those organs in time. Donate Life is a non-profit organization that has dedicated its existence to increasing the number of organ, eye and tissue donors in the United States. According to their website, “95% of Americans are in favor of being a donor, but only 52% are registered.” Their website also points out that by becoming an organ, eye and tissue donor, you can save up to 50 lives.

The company realized that by creating a campaign, they could potentially increase the number of donors, and if they created a clever one, they could potentially reach the millennials; their target demographic. The ad depicts a grungy man with poor hygiene, a drinking problem, no manners or ethics, and overall, no concern of what people may think of him. He truly is the biggest a**hole in the world, and while most viewers will probably agree with this assessment, the ad takes a turn when it shows that this man is also an organ donor — something most viewers wouldn't expect from a guy like that. By working with The Martin Agency, Donate Life came up with a concept that got down to the heart of the matter, and may encourage people to go out and register.

Why our GEMites liked this clever creative:

We’re all about transparency and being genuine here at GEM, so we appreciate when other companies are too. Donate Life could have just made a generic, tell-me-what-I-want-to-hear, sappy ad about the good that comes out of donating organs, tissue and eyes, but they took an alternate route. Yes, this ad still slightly guilts you into thinking, “Why am I not an organ donor?” but, it doesn’t make you cry in the process. The “World’s Biggest A**hole” commercial is brash, bold and frank, and we love it. There are many Coleman F. Sweeney’s in the world; I’m sure you could name a few off the top of your head, which also makes the ad super relatable, another reason why we liked it. But, perhaps our favorite part of the ad is when you find out that this a**hole is an organ donor, because then it makes you think, “If ‘The World’s Biggest A**hole’ is an organ donor, what’s my excuse?” It makes you question if Coleman F. Sweeney is the real a-hole, or if you are, especially if you’re not currently a donor. The ad does still show where Sweeney’s organs go, which gives you the “awe” moment you’d expect out of an organ donor commercial, but the rest of it mixes crass humor with authenticity to get Donate Life’s point across: If “The World’s Biggest A**hole” is an organ donor, you should be too.

Why our fellow creatives should like this:

Let’s be honest, promoting the topic of organ donation could be a touchy subject. It’s against some people’s beliefs, and if not done properly, the ad itself could come off the wrong way. It could also be seen as a boring subject, especially when you mix it amongst the interesting ads for Coca-Cola, Chipotle, Dove, etc. The Martin Agency had a tough task: trying to make an organ donation commercial not sound too preachy or too “give us your organs now.” They nailed it out of the park by coming up with an ad that would appeal more to a millennial, while still getting an important message across.

There are a lot of companies that have products or services that might not be as marketable as say, athletic apparel, but people still need them, and companies need to find a way to remind them of it. In a cluttered marketplace where every ad is competing against each other, even if they’re not in the same industry, it is usually those less attractive products and services that lose out. There are some companies, like Geico, that have found a way to make a service like insurance entertaining, but not every company can do that. We believe our fellow creatives should count this Donate Life commercial amongst those ads that successfully turned a less-than glamourous product or service into something that everyone is talking about. This clever creative was the perfect solution for Donate Life because it was both entertaining and got to the heart of the matter.

Let us know what you think, and look out for next week’s installment of Clever Creatives!

If you’re looking for some clever creative of your own, feel free to contact us.


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