It only takes a moment. On September 9, 2009, Memphis high school football player Fletcher Cleaves was driving home from practice with a friend when an oncoming driver distracted by a phone drifted into his lane. Cleaves swerved to avoid the other car, and flipped his own, waking up paralyzed from the chest down.
A new PSA from AT&T and ESPN tells Fletcher’s story, using re-enactments, family home movie footage and scenes starring Cleaves and his family. At six minutes long, this is more than your average safety ad, and the spot had pretty high standards to meet, after AT&T’s equally affecting first installment of the campaign from July.
But ESPN’s in-house agency CreativeWorks and director Miles Jay make it worth every second with an incredibly told story, balancing the tragedy of his accident and the inspiration of his life since then. Six years after the accident, Cleaves has graduated from the University of Memphis and lives on his own. He also appeared on ESPN’s College Game Day last week to talk about his story.
We’ve been watching PSAs for years that involve a range of decisions over time that can lead to the unfortunate consequences of gambling, drugs, alcohol, reckless driving, and more. But what makes “Fletcher’s Drive” so powerful is how it conveys the heartbreaking consequences of just one glance at a phone.