Jesus on the Cross Is Urged to Donate His Organs in Comical but Controversial PSA

Aussie spot channels Life of Brian

The issue of organ donation has generated lots of top-notch creative advertising over the past few years—notably, "The World's Biggest Asshole" from Donate Life and "Corazón" from Montefiore. 

Now, we get another head-turning effort in the genre—a 2:30 spot from Australia in which the world's least-biggest asshole, Jesus, is persuaded, while he's being crucified, to donate his organs and save some lives. 

It's done in a lighthearted and comical way. (The spot ends with one of the soldiers proclaiming "Nailed it!" before realizing his faux pas.) But of course, any comical treatment of the Crucifixion is seen by many Christians as blasphemous, and the new work is getting plenty of heat in its first few days online. 

See the spot below. 

What Would Jesus Do - Donate Your Organs (Full Clip)

The decent insight behind the PSA is that there's never a good time to talk about organ donation. The spot also has an impressive cinematic look. (And it clearly owes a debt to the Crucifixion scene in Monty Python's The Life of Brian.) But plenty of viewers are not impressed in the least. 

Somewhat remarkably, comments are enabled on the YouTube video—and are full of angry replies from those who see it as disrespectful to Christ and to Christians. Many also wonder if the filmmakers would have treated another religion this way. 

Director Richard Bullock of production company Revolver/Will O'Rourke seems to have chosen the subject matter precisely because it's controversial. 

"I wanted to deliberately provoke a conversation in homes around the subject. This is really difficult, as nobody wants to bring up issues around death and organ donation over the dinner table," he says. 

"I thought it would be amusing and relevant to find that the nicest and kindest man who ever lived—Jesus—wasn't aware that his organ donor status was no longer on his license. Once I started writing I realized that the complexity of the Australian Organ donation could be explained. In the end, Jesus donating his organs is exactly what I think Jesus would do."

The PSA is supported by GoodPitch, a group that brings together filmmakers and philanthropists to tackle social issues. It also serves as a trailer of sorts for a feature-length documentary about organ donation called Dying to Live by pointing to dyingtolive.com.au at the end. 

CREDITS
Advertiser: GoodPitch
Production Company: Revolver/Will O'Rourke
Executive Producer: Michael Ritchie
Director: Richard Bullock
DOP: Peter Eastgate
Producer: Phoebe Marks
Editor: Philip Horn
Casting: Citizen Jane
Post Production: The Editors
Sound Design: Rumble Studios
Writer: Richard Bullock
Managing Director: Michael Ritchie

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Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd is editor in chief of the Clio Awards, editor of Muse by Clio, and host of the podcast Tagline. He is the former creative editor of Adweek.

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