Marketing campaigns can be tricky to get right. On one hand, you want your ad to stand out and be seen as different from everything else around – but on the other, if you go too far in the direction of controversy you risk it backfiring tremendously. And when it comes to marketing for a non-profit, the thought of taking large risks can seem even more daunting…which is why Donate Life’s latest ad is so unexpectedly brilliant.
It’s not often that you see a non-profit diverting from the warm and fuzzy route, but that’s the exact shake-up The Martin Agency knew was needed in order to reach their target audience. Given their client’s aim was to create an ad that would inspire people – particularly millennial men, considering their low rates of organ donation – to sign up to save a life, they knew it was vital to take a risk on something daring and rough around the edges.
What followed was the short film ‘The World’s Biggest A******’, which tells the story of a grade-A jerk named Coleman F. Sweeney; the kind of guy who will beep incessantly at old ladies crossing the street too slowly, haggle over $1.99 special fries, and shoot a paint gun at your dog – just because. Yes, there’s no doubt that Coleman is ‘The World’s Biggest A******,’ but as we soon discover, he’s also the world’s most unlikely hero. You see, Coleman is an organ donor, and when he kicks the bucket one day (while being his normal unpleasant self), we suddenly see, with striking clarity, just how much of a difference he ends up making in the lives of others through his decision to donate.
Coleman is, quite simply, the unlikeliest of heroes – and that’s the message of the ad. No matter how much of a tosser you are, you can still do something good for others.
In the world of fuzzy, heartfelt charity ads and ‘ice bucket challenges,’ it would be an understatement to say that The Martin Agency took a risk on this ad. However, it’s a risk that paid off. Not only did ‘The World’s Biggest A******’ go viral, it also increased millennial support by over 127%, and raised Donate Life’s daily registrations from 149 to 1022 per day (a 586% increase!).
Whether you’re in a non-profit industry or otherwise, ‘The World’s Biggest A******’ is an important reminder to us all of how storytelling and risk taking can transform your campaigns on a huge scale.
INSPIRATION FOR THE DAY
“I tell my staff all the time: Remember, you have a job to do, and when you can tell a story that goes beyond just the clicks, that’s when you’ve won the game.” – Joe Alexander, Chief Creative Officer at The Martin Agency (Source: Adweek).