Martin Helps Increase Organ Donation in an Unusual Way

Every day 22 people die waiting for an organ transplant. That's 8,000 every year (DLA site). It’s not because we’re lacking the technology, the hospitals or the “bodies.” It’s not because doctors are unwilling or unskilled. It’s simply because there are not enough organ donors. In just two weeks this simple, but powerful communications effort changed that by increasing daily organ donor registrations from 149 per day to 1,022 per day, an increase of 585%. It's not often that we get to use our marketing superpowers for good. In this case, we did and the result will be many lives saved.  

Donate Life America (DLA) is the premier educational transplantation nonprofit in the United States. Simply put, they are in business to increase the pool of donors so that more transplantations can happen. And they do that by using the Donate Life℠ brand to motivate the American public to register as organ, eye and tissue donors either through the DMV, National Donate Life Registry, or through partnerships with state-run donor registries.  

Unfortunately, business was not good and it appeared on the surface that the entire American public was losing their motivation to register. But in fact, what we found was millennial men in particular were the problem. It was also not lost on any of us that millennial men offered the biggest opportunity for healthy organs, eyes and tissues. So reversing the “Millennial Man-Slide” would guarantee that we could save the most lives.  

The Challenge: While young men make up the majority of the national organ transplant waiting list, their registration numbers were significantly lower than other demographics. We wanted to reach this demographic with a powerful donation message - in a culturally relevant context - that would inspire them to take action and register to become organ donors.  

The Idea: No matter who you are in life, in death you can be a hero. Idea: Even an asshole can save a life.  

The Execution: Millennial men are a different breed. They see the world through the eyes of Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon. So getting them to act would take something bold, funny, and offensive…something “Funny or Die” would feature. Enter Coleman Sweeney, World’s Biggest Asshole, and the story of his life, death and redemption.  

The Results: In just two weeks this simple, but powerful effort increased daily organ donor registrations from 149 per day to 1,022 (DLA database). The momentum continued after 4 weeks with more than 30,000 new donors added to the national registry (DLA database). 51% of which were millennial men. And it’s still going.

Donate Life - The World's Biggest Asshole

Agency: The Martin Agency Director: Speck + Gordon Copywriters: Wade Alger, David Vogeleer, Brig White, Miranda Morgan Production Company: Furlined Director Of Photography: Jeff Cutter Editorial: Cut & Run Editor: Graham Turner Color & VFX: The Mill Sound Design: Lime Studios Music: Duotone Composed By: Coldplay Arranged By: Ross Hopman & Jordan Lieb Performed By: Civil Brother Starring: As "Coleman Sweeney" - Thomas Jane Voice Over by Will Arnett

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