WASHINGTON, February 26, 2019 (by Michael Dickens)
Serena Williams is showing that her brand transcends tennis. On Sunday, just hours before she introduced “A Star is Born,” nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, during the prime time broadcast of the 91st Academy Awards from Hollywood, the 23-time Grand Slam champion of tennis narrated and starred in Nike’s newest commercial, “Dream Crazier,” which the iconic American sports apparel company released via social media on Twitter. It aired during the Academy Awards broadcast on Sunday night.
Nike’s message was inclusive, diverse and empowering. It was inspiring, too.
“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic,” says Williams in the ad’s voice over. “If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we’re delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.
“But a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy. Coaching an NBA team, crazy. A woman competing in a hijab, changing her sport, landing a double-cork 1080, or winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more, crazy, crazy, crazy, crazy – and more crazy.
“So, if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do. …
“It’s only crazy until you do it. Just do it.”
The 90-second spot was designed to focus on female athletes who have broken different barriers, united people through the power of athletics, and inspired generations of fans.
Among the athletes prominently featured are: the U.S. women’s national soccer team, who are the reigning World Cup champions; U.S. Olympic medalists Simon Biles (gymnastics) and Chloe Kim (snowboarding); and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. Also, Katherine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon; Lisa Leslie, the first woman to dunk in a WNBA basketball game; Becky Hammon, the first woman to be all full-time assistant coach in the NBA; and Hall of Fame tennis player Li Na.
Nike hopes to fight gender discrimination in sports and “raise awareness” through its “Dream Crazier” campaign.