W+K Portland’s new spot for Powerade, entitled “Rose from Concrete,” stars Derrick Rose and features narration by Tupac Shakur.
For the voiceover, W+K took audio from the song “Mamas Just A Little Girl,” released posthumously on the 2002 album Better Dayz. Tupac’s spoken word lyrics form the emotional basis for the 60-second spot, which finds an appropriate subject in the injury-plagued Bulls star. Set in the streets of Englewood, Chicago, it shows (presumably) a young Rose as he rides his bike to the United Center. He stares at it longingly and then, in the next shot, an adult Rose sips a Powerade while taking in the sights from inside, ending with the message, “We’re all just a kid from somewhere.”
The words present a powerful message of overcoming adversity, and W+K does an admirable job of matching them to footage of Chicago, filmed last December. “Rose from Concrete” risks alienating some, however, who might take objection to Powerade’s use of Tupac’s sentiment for commercial means (even if they have the blessing of his estate).
“Tupac Shakur serves as the ultimate example of someone who couldn’t be limited by the environment in which he was raised,” Guy Duncan, group director, integrated marketing content, Powerade, said in a statement. “We are honored the Tupac Shakur estate has allowed us to use his inspiring message to tell our story to a generation that didn’t get the chance to experience his larger-than-life presence.”