“This is a story about Coleman Sweeney. Coleman, in short, was an a**hole”.
That’s how this short-film advertisement, produced by The Martin Agency, begins. It’s a clever and funny public service announcement targeted at Millennials from Donate Life, an organisation that encourages people to register to donate their organs.
The controversial ad follows the life of Coleman F. Sweeny, acted by Thomas Jane. Coleman beeps at old ladies as they cross the street, fires paintballs at dogs, and gives children cigarettes – amongst many other less-than-decent acts.
Then, he dies. We don’t quite know how to feel about it, until we learn that “that was the day Coleman went from a**hole to hero”.
The ad pulls in its audience with humour, and then in a compelling twist, takes us down an incredibly powerful and emotive road. It shows the stories of the people whose lives he changed.
Wade Alger, group creative director for The Martin Agency said of the ad: “You could live your entire life as an asshole, but if you did one good thing, make that one good thing donating your organs when you’re no longer with us. The idea seemed pretty simple.” Perhaps simple, but great idea.
Statistics from Donate Life’s site say that 120,000 people are waiting for an organ, and that one organ, eye and tissue donor can save and heal more than 50 lives. It’s a pretty amazing act, or in the words of the films narrator – “generous, and majestic”.
It’s been noted by now that to grab Millennials’ attention, you need to be doing something edgy. This was commented on by CEO of Ideasicle and contributor to Forbes, Will Burns, who wrote of the ad: “it’s edgy because the film needed massive contrast (from “asshole” to “hero”) to magnify the message of organ donation for Millennials”.
Millennials must be responding better when someone tugs at their funny bone instead of their heart strings, as we’re starting to see more serious topics in public awareness ads approached in this way. We’re happy to welcome this more comical change of tone, seeing as making us laugh is as powerful as making us cry.
So, there you have it. If you’ve recently yelled at a puppy or coughed on a baby, all hope is not yet lost.
Even an a**hole can save a life.
It’s definitely worth sparing three minutes of your day to watch it: