Using adolescent humour to tackle a very serious adult topic: wills

—For the many adults who find estate planning uncomfortable, including Craig Redmond, this spot uses goofy, Jackass-ian humour to disarm the viewer and drive home the message—

This time last year, I became an adult. Yeah, I know, I was a bit slow with the maturation thing. But my man child-ness was one of the few remaining vestiges of a rebellious lost youth that I could desperately cling to.

Alas, however, the day had come—just like the other two sure things in life: Death and taxes. Which were, in fact, the two inevitabilities that prompted my decision—well, my wife’s decision—that it was time for me to grow up. We needed to get our wills and power of attorney and all that other important crap sorted.

For years, my dad had advised me to do so, warning that if we ever got hit by a bus, all of our assets could be absorbed by banks and the government, instead of going to our kids. Of course I ignored him, being the man child fool that I was.

But now our daughter was back with us, working from home, and if we needed her to sign any papers, this was the time to do it. “We need to get our affairs in order,” my wife pressed gently. Which were her adult words for, “Dude, we need to get our shit together.”

The first thing I did was look online. And sure enough, for just 40 bones, I could get a certified will and testament in half an hour flat. But it felt akin to getting an MBA electronically from Phoenix University. So, we went to a lawyer my accountant recommended, across the hall from his office. A referral of convenience, as it were.

It turned out that our newly adopted legal counsel was 137 years old—he would need to be carbon dated to be sure. But he was definitely well seasoned. And he spent the better part of our meeting describing his own near brushes with mortality to impart the import of the contracts we were about to autograph.

I guess that’s when I suddenly realized that I had finally arrived at adulthood. Because I was authorizing decrees that would impact the lives of loved ones after my own anointed adulthood had drawn to a conclusion.

Which brought home some sound words that my daughter once conveyed to me, having reached maturity much sooner than I: “Adulthood sucks!”

Maybe that’s why I liked this 90-second epic romp so much.

It addresses the very sobering importance of estate planning amidst the tragic reality that untold millions in life insurance and inheritance worldwide go uncollected because of a lack of pre, post-mortem, prep.

But it does so in a manner that tickles one’s penchant for Monty Python puerility, invokes our Super Dave Osborne adolescence, and gratifies the Jackass guilty pleasures we all vehemently deny.

This spot for online estate planning service does, after all, originate from France—the country that canonized Jerry Lewis by inducting him into their nation’s exalted Legion of Honour in reverence to his farcical genius. And while many may roll their eyes at its often inane, slapstick hyperbole, it totally works.

Because it cuts through, using goofy humour to disarm the viewer and drive home its message of preparedness and very ironic warning that: “Dying, Life Does That.”

It also reminded me that you’re right, Nomes. Adulthood does indeed suck!

Craig Redmond is a creative director in transit.

Craig Redmond