Make us your home page

Viral organ donor commercial featuring the world's biggest jerkface has Tampa Bay connections (w/video)

TAMPA — Organ donation is no joke.

Jason Woody gets that. He is chairman of Donate Life America and CEO of Tampa's Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research. It's his job to persuade people to become organ donors. And like everybody else, DLA is having trouble reaching millennials.

So his agency decided to try something a little different. Something edgy. Something funny. Something profane.

The result is a 2-minute, 47-second video featuring the world's biggest, um, jerk. (The video uses another word that nearly rhymes with tadpole.)

The jerk is Coleman F. Sweeney, played by actor Thomas Jane (who starred in the movie The Punisher, which was filmed in Tampa).

In the new video, he throws a stranger's wet laundry out of a dryer at the laundromat to avoid paying for his own load. Along the way, he pockets a pair of lace panties. He honks and hollers incessantly at an elderly woman with a walker and a nurse's aide crossing the street in front of him. He shoots his neighbor's dog with a paintball gun. He opens the door to trick-or-treaters wearing only a Speedo and holding a bottle of tequila (and he takes their candy).

Then he's in a diner, arguing with a server over whether extra fries should be included in a $1.99 early-bird breakfast — and dies of a sudden brain aneurysm.

But he dies a hero.

Actor and comedian Will Arnett, the narrator of the public service announcement, explains:

"Coleman Sweeney had registered to be an organ donor. Nobody knew what caused Coleman to do it, but there it was. Generous and majestic," Arnett says.

Sweeney's liver goes to a father of two. His heart to a teacher who taught for 25 more years. His tendons to a staff sergeant who would walk again. And his corneas to his 82-year-old neighbor, who "could finally see the crap that her dog made in the side yard and pick it up."

The commercial is funny, smart and more than a bit inappropriate. But its message is clear: Even a jerk can save a life.

The PSA, which went live Friday, already has more than 1.2 million views. Forbes and Upworthy have written about it. It has become a more successful campaign than DLA's recently announced partnership with Apple. That deal will allow iPhone users to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor from the health app that comes with the release of iOS 10 in October.

"It was nothing in comparison" to the exposure DLA has gotten from the video so far, Woody said.

The Martin Agency is responsible for the video. Martin is a high-profile advertising agency known for campaigns like the Geico caveman and lizard. Martin offered its help, and DLA gave it "free rein" to come up with something that would help them reach a younger audience. The ad creation and production were donated to DLA for free.

"We have to look at how we reach all our constituents. Now we have Gen X and the millennials," Woody said. "The heartfelt stories of a mother getting a new heart … doesn't work with everyone. People still hear those stories all the time."

So far Woody is elated by the buzz the video is creating. It's available to view online only and won't run on local cable stations.

"This is going to be tough to one-up," Woody said about what's next for the DLA. "But based on the public's reaction, I think we'll find ourselves pushing the envelope more."

Contact Justine Griffin at or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

A viral video urging people to become organ donors features actor Thomas Jane as the world’s biggest jerk. But he dies a hero because he’s an organ donor. It’s aimed at millennials.

Photo courtesy of Donate Life America

A viral video urging people to become organ donors features actor Thomas Jane as the world’s biggest jerk. But he dies a hero because he’s an organ donor. It’s aimed at millennials.

How to become an

organ donor in Florida:

• Register online at

• Designate your decision on your driver's license at the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Watch the video

To see the edgy video, go to

Viral organ donor commercial featuring the world's biggest jerkface has Tampa Bay connections (w/video) 08/10/16 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2016 9:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Have your say Tampa Bay on the region's future transit options

    Mass Transit

    TAMPA — It's time, yet again, for Tampa Bay residents to tell officials what kind of transit options they want for their region.

    The Cross-Bay Ferry docks at the Tampa Convention Center on its maiden voyage on Nov. 1, 2016. A regional premium transit study will determine whether a ferry, or other options such as express buses or light rail, would be a good addition to Tampa Bay. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  2. SOCom seeks civilian drone pilots to develop new technology through ThunderDrone


    TAMPA — For the last three years, Nicole Abbett has been using drones as part of her photography business, with clients like the city of Tampa and construction companies.

    Josh Newby, 31, Palm Harbor, of Tampa Drones fly's a drone in England Brothers park, Pinellas Park, 8/25/16. As drone popularity increases as a hobby and business, local governments are navigating a legal grey area- where, when, and how should drone flights be allowed?
  3. New apartment complex delivers unique floor plans


    RIVERVIEW — A new luxury apartment community has opened in the Progress Village area touting itself as a distinct living option just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.

    Alta at Magnolia Park dubs its new apartment community, that opened earlier this year in Riverview, a modern and distinct option for living just 10 miles from downtown Tampa.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming


    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.