Top 5 ads of the week: LeBron believes for Nike, Truth and opioid detox

Three UK imagines smartphones of history, Volvo pumps it up with big rigs and Dolph Lungren, Ford turns an accessory into accessibility.

Top 5 ads of the week: LeBron believes for Nike, Truth and opioid detox

Opioids don’t discriminate among age, race, geography, or socioeconomic status. To put a finer point on that fact, Truth Initiative is using its newest PSA to introduce us to Rebekkah, a 26-year-old addict who got hooked on prescription drugs after she hurt her ankle as an aspiring dancer at 14. Stories like hers are tragically common in America right now, and the new campaign forces us to face that fact. Onward!


Truth Initiative “Rebekkah’s Story”

What: A new PSA that aims to show that opioid addiction can start in unexpected places.

Who: Truth Initiative, The Ad Council, U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, 72andSunny, M ss ng P eces

Why we care: It’s a tragic story well told with a glimmer of hope, but it’s the specificity of chronicling Rebekkah’s first three days of detox that brings home the pain, struggle, and will required to break the curse cast by a well-intentioned prescription.

Nike “LeBron–I Believe”

What: As LeBron James begins his 16th NBA season, his first as a Los Angeles Laker, Nike serves up a flashback.

Who: Nike, Wieden + Kennedy Portland


Why we care: It may be his 16th year in the NBA, but the foundation of his confidence was on display for all to see when he was just an 18-year-old NBA hopeful. The spot expertly taps footage from his press conference on May 22, 2003, just after the results of the year’s NBA Draft Lottery were announced, to stylishly illustrate the power of self-belief.

Ford “Accessibility Mat”

What: Ford Brazil redesigned the Ecosport SUV’s trunk mat to give it a new function as a portable accessibility ramp for drivers with disabilities or limited mobility.

Who: Ford Brazil, GTB Brazil, Code Studio

Why we care: Some of the best examples of brand marketing are actually pieces of utility that not only promote a brand but also work to make our lives easier. Here, Ford saw an opportunity to adapt a seemingly simple part of its product to become a useful tool for the millions of Brazilians living with some type of mobility disability, making it easier for them to navigate the world. It’s a cool innovation, with a look at the humanity behind it.

Three UK “#PhonesAreGood”

What: A U.K. mobile brand ad to counter all the claims of how bad our phones are for us.


Who: Three UK, Wieden + Kennedy London

Why we care: What if the captain of the Titanic had had a smartphone? Would history change? (Of course it would.) That’s the ridiculous premise here to cheekily illustrate the brighter side of our crippling phone addiction.

Volvo “Pump It Up”

What: An ’80s inspired fever dream disguised as an ad for Volvo construction vehicles.

Who: Volvo, Forsman & Bodenfors

Why we care: Just what the sweet, Swedish automotive hell is going on here? Your guess is as good as mine, but this feels like a weird sequel to Benny Bennassi’s “Satisfaction,” that just happens to be a Volvo ad. Dolph Lungren somehow pops up in pop culture twice in as many months, adding to the Creed II trailer excitement. That’s two more times than in the last, what, 20 years? Pump up the jams.

About the author

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