Top 5 ads of the week: Spotify and Pharrell, Adidas and Zidane

The Atlantic looks at the ethics of AI, Dollar Shave Club gets ready, and Apple knows you can’t remember that new password.

Top 5 ads of the week: Spotify and Pharrell, Adidas and Zidane

For Black History Month this year, Spotify introduced a new initiative to help take the appreciation of black culture beyond just one month and transform it into a year-round celebration.


Created by Spotify and Saturday Morning Co.,”Black History Is Happening Now” includes a content hub where artists, creatives, and organizations that are working with communities of color tell stories through curated playlists, videos, and podcasts. The first artist partner for the project was Janelle Monáe, who made a list of her musical inspirations, as well as a doc on the history of Afrofuturism directed by Daisy Zhou. This week Pharrell Williams launched his contribution to the project, which will feature exclusive original content including videos and curated playlists.

Spotify is also using the occasion to launch a new project that will award three black female creatives across film, literature, and visual arts with funding to create original content on the message that “black women are a very serious force,” to be launched early this fall. Onward!

Spotify “Pharrell Williams: Black History Is Happening Now”

What: Volume Two of Spotify’s ongoing appreciation of black culture.

Who: Spotify, Saturday Morning Co., Pharrell Williams

Why we care: As Twitter’s global group creative director Jayanta Jenkins, also a cofounder of Saturday Morning Co., told me earlier this year,  “When you begin to go into communities and activate these things in meaningful ways, you’re demonstrating your commitment to the belief you’re articulating in your communications.” By doing that, the brand shows a dedicated approach to this idea of celebrating black history beyond February, by going into communities and using music and their resources to inspire young people.

Adidas “Zidane–The Midfield”

What: Adidas ad in which the France legend talks soccer tactics in perhaps the smoothest way possible.


Who: Adidas, Iris Worldwide

Why we care: The best time to run a spot starring Zidane? The day after France booked its place in the World Cup final and Real Madrid sells its most high-profile player to Juventus, Adidas gets the French icon and former Real Madrid manager to make soccer tactics sound like a Serge Gainsbourg song.

Apple “Memory”

What: A dramatic reenactment of your brain when you can’t remember your password, and how iPhone X’s Face ID unlock can help.

Who: Apple

Why we care: We’ve all had that moment. Why? Why can’t I remember this damn password I just reset yesterday? This exercise in self-humiliation is illustrated here with what boils down to a cinematic, fun, and creative product feature demo.

Dollar Shave Club “Get Ready”

What: An almost four-minute ode to all possible ways we get ready to go out.


Who: Dollar Shave Club

Why we care: We’ve come a long way from Pop-pop with polio, and here the now-Unilever-owned grooming company goes full epic to show us how its ever-expanding roster of products can help us prepare our cornucopia of physical quirks for the outside world.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise “Moral Code: The Ethics of AI”

What: A seven-minute doc created by the Atlantic‘s brand content studio.

Who: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Atlantic Re:think, Digitas

Why we care: Here, we get a look at some important questions surrounding AI, considering the implications of developing such powerful technology. Addressing topics like the impact of biases (aka AI’s “white guy problem”) and the need for transparency are a collection of experts that include Hewlett Packard Labs chief architect Kirk Bresniker, CEO Anita Schjoll Brede, Santa Clara University professor Shannon Valor, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Markoff, and more.


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.