The ‘World’s Biggest Asshole’ Teaches You About Organ Donation in This New Campaign

The Martin Agency's new inspirational work for Donate Life

Headshot of Katie Richards

What comes to mind when you picture the world’s biggest asshole?

Maybe it’s a guy peeing into a beer bottle while driving, throwing said urine-filled bottle out the window, grinning as it crashes and splashes on a car behind him. Or maybe he’s the creepy guy with a bumper sticker that reads “Caution! I can go from 0 to horny in 2.2 beers” tacked to the back of his pick up truck.

According to a new campaign for Donate Life from The Martin Agency that person, that enormous asshole, is Coleman F. Sweeney. In life, Mr. Sweeney, played by actor Thomas Jane, exhibits all of the worst characteristics of a person. After he dies, one action amidst a lifetime of being a jerk turns him into a hero. But how?

“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,” Wade Alger, group creative director for The Martin Agency, said.

One of the main motivators behind the new work is to encourage millennial men to become organ donors, as that demographic has dropped off in recent years. Overall there are currently 120,000 men, women and children waiting for a organ donation, and roughly 8,000 of those people, about 22 per day, die each year because they won’t receive the organs they need in time. By signing up, a millennial could save as many as 50 lives.

The Martin Agency felt one of the best ways to capture the attention of young men in the U.S. was through a bit of crude humor (did you catch that lovely car accessory dangling from the back of Sweeney’s car?) and crass language, hence the “World Biggest Asshole” campaign title. All parties who worked on the campaign weren’t really worried about offending any viewers though.

“I think everyone knew it was the right way to talk to this group. The realization was that while I might not agree with the language in this, I’m not the target and therefore I can get over it,” Alger added.

The Martin Agency first got involved with Donate Life, an organization that aims to raise awareness about organ donation, through managing director, account management, Chris Mumford. Mumford developed a personal relationship with the organization after his brother passed in 2008 after suffering a massive heart attack.

“After a few months on an artificial heart, he received a heart transplant. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly shortly after his transplant. But the prospects of a transplant gave my brother and all of us hope … and ultimately allowed us an extra six months with him. We are forever grateful for the opportunity we were given by his donor,” Mumford said.

After finding a cause that the team was passionate about, The Martin Agency then teamed up with Furlined about doing a project together. The 18-month timeline kicked in while searching for a time when Furlined directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon could donate their time to create the spot. The team also had to factor in Jane’s schedule, as well as Will Arnett’s, the ad’s narrator.

Alger said he knew the spot, while cheeky and a bit crude at times, was something special because of the number of people willing to donate their time to pull the project off. “It was really great. I’m glad that the world finally gets to meet the world’s biggest asshole,” Alger said.


Agency: The Martin Agency
Chief Creative Officer: Joe Alexander
Copywriter: Wade Alger
Copywriter: David Vogeleer
Copywriter: Brig White
Copywriter: Miranda Morgan
Designer: Will Godwin
Senior Digital Producer: Jill McGrath
Broadcast Producer: Steve Humble
Managing Director, Account Management: Chris Mumford
Account Director: Audyn O’Rourke
Account Executive: Cori Kaylor
Account Executive: Carter Crenshaw
Production Business Manager: Karen Taylor
Group Project Management Supervisor: Danielle Cin

Production Company: Furlined
Director: Speck + Gordon
President/Executive Producer: Diane McArter
Senior Executive Producer: David Thorne
Executive Producer: Jay Wakefield
Line Producer: Greg Schultz
Director Of Photography: Jeff Cutter
Production Designer: Andrew Reznik

Editorial: Cut & Run
Editor: Graham Turner
Executive Producer, Editorial: Carr Schilling

Color & VFX: The Mill
Colorist: Adam Scott
Executive Producer, Color: Thatcher Peterson
Lead Flame Artist: Robin McGloin
Additional 2d Artist: Don Kim
VFX Producer: Jordan Sharon
VFX Supervisor: Tim Davies
Production Coordinator: Pat DeVaney

Sound Design: Lime Studios
Sound Designer: Jeff Malen
Executive Producer, Sound: Susie Boyajan

Music: Duotone
Managing Director: David Leinheardt
Executive Creative Directors: Jack Livesey & Peter Nashel
Executive Producer: Ross Hopman
Producer: Giovonni Lobato
Composed By: Coldplay
Arranged By:  Ross Hopman & Jordan Lieb
Performed By: Civil Brother

As “Coleman Sweeney” – Thomas Jane
Voice Over by Will Arnett

@ktjrichards Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.