Sunday, April 22, 2018
Business

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 [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

Comments
Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

Some people are paying for cuddles. And it’s not what you might think.

When Samantha Hess’s marriage ended five years ago, she felt she was lacking a basic human need: Physical touch. As a woman in her late 20s living in Portland, Oregon, she found plenty of men interested in dating, but sexual contact was not what she ...
Published: 04/21/18
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. Those were among the prelim...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

Regulators allow major solar company to lease home equipment

State regulators Friday determined that one of the country’s largest residential solar companies, San Francisco-based Sunrun, is allowed to lease solar energy equipment for homes in Florida. The decision, solar energy advocates say, could open the do...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

For the sixth month running, Florida’s unemployment rate held at a nearly 11-year low of 3.9 percent in March as steady job gains continued. While many factors kept Florida’s economy chugging along, three industries stand out for leading year-over-ye...
Published: 04/20/18
Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Published: 04/20/18
Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida hits a milestone: More than 100,000 people are registered to use medical marijuana here

Florida has hit a milestone of sorts as it slowly moves toward wider availability of medical marijuana.The number of patients in the state who are registered to use the substance has surpassed 100,000 for the first time, according to Florida Departme...
Published: 04/20/18
Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

Q&A: Walmart leader chats about Florida stores, and the chain’s latest retail strategy

The Tampa Bay Times recently sat down with Walmart director of corporate communications Phillip Keene to chat about the retail giant’s latest retail strategies and how the company is winning over customers in a competitive market.Already, two of the ...
Published: 04/20/18
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Published: 04/20/18
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18