Top 5 ads of the week: Monica Lewinsky embraces insults, and is Ted Cruz Texas tough?

Mike Rowe gets a prostate exam, Amazon knows how much TV can inspire your real life, and Nike signs its first-ever athlete with cerebral palsy.

Top 5 ads of the week: Monica Lewinsky embraces insults, and is Ted Cruz Texas tough?

One of the reasons the Mission Impossible film franchise has survived more than two decades is its ability to skillfully market the fact that Tom Cruise is doing his own stunts. In an age of CGI, with films that not only have fake stunts, but also characters who aren’t even there, it’s refreshing for audiences to see something spectacular and get a little extra buzz to know that it was done for real. And now Mike Rowe just did a cancer PSA that uses the same approach, but for prostate exams. Onward!


Zero Cancer “Mike Rowe Prostate Exam”

What: A new cancer awareness PSA starring Mike Rowe and his real-life doctor.

Who: Zero Cancer, Erich & Kallman

Why we care: Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it. And here Rowe dutifully shows how easy it is to get your prostate checked, and significantly improve your chances for early detection. Amazingly, too many men avoid the whole thing altogether due to a sheer instinct to avoid anything awkward and uncomfortable, with potential deadly consequences. The no-nonsense approach is made even better by the fake “reverse angle” button.

Monica Lewinsky “#DefyTheName”

What: A new PSA to mark National Bullying Prevention Month in which Lewinsky aims to devalue the most common type of bullying behavior: name calling.

Who: Monica Lewinsky, BBDO New York


Why we care: It’s a fun sign of solidarity that Questlove, Alan Cumming, John Oliver, Lena Dunham, Olivia Munn, Sarah Silverman, Tony Hawk, and more all embrace some of the worst insults hurled at them as kids. It also clearly illustrates that we are not what someone tells us we are.

Amazon Prime Video “Great Show Stay With You”

What: A new campaign to show the potential IRL upside of watching Amazon shows like Jack RyanOutlander, and Vikings.

Who: Amazon, Droga5 London

Why we care: We all know TV shows do have the ability to have an impact far beyond the screen. Look no further than “The Rachel” haircut, or Don Draper’s unprecedented ability to bring back thin lapels, skinny ties, and Heinz ads. With Anna’s transition from timid coworker to Break Room Warrior, Amazon hilariously aims to illustrate the potential of its own original programming lineup.

Nike “Justin Gallegos”

What: Nike signs University of Oregon student Justin Gallegos, who has cerebral palsy, to a three-year athlete deal.


Who: Nike, Elevation 0m

Why we care: Not only is this a landmark signing and win for inclusion in sports, but also just a pretty damn inspiring story. On Instagram, Gallegos wrote, “Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! …  I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running!”

Fire Ted Cruz “Is Ted Cruz ‘Tough as Texas’?”

What: A new ad from the Fire Ted Cruz PAC, directed by Texas film legend Richard Linklater.

Who: Fire Ted Cruz PAC, Richard Linklater

Why we care: There’s a lot to unpack here, but I’m just going to list two reasons why I love this ad. First, it’s Linklater revisiting an obscure character from his 2011 film Bernie in the most perfect political ad, old-guy-in-a-coffee-shop way possible. And second, “C’mon…Ted.”

About the author

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