Nike Middle East launches bold campaign to celebrate female athletes

Nike has unveiled a powerful campaign designed to champion women in the Middle East and challenge stereotypes.

The bold creative centres around the question 'What will they say about you?' and features five successful female athletes cherry picked by Nike from a range of fields.

A subtitled version of the colourful film has been shared by the brand on Twitter, and sees women from a range of fields including Parkour trainer Amal Mourad, boxer Arifa Bseiso, singer Balqees Fathi and boxer Arifa Bseiso showcasing their skills. Figure skater Zahra Lari also takes a starring role.

Nike wants to turn its women's sportswear arm into an $11bn business by 2020, and as such has been scrapping stereotypes in its marketing over recent years in a bid to appeal to female shoppers. However, while this ad features more than a glimpse of the classic Nike swoosh the film also seeks to shine a spotlight on women who have achieved success against all odds and in some cases cultural expectations.

Speaking to Abu Dhabi newspaper the National Emirati parkour coach Murad said the phrase 'What will they say about you' is "every little girl's nightmare growing up."

"We hear this every time we do something that might be met with criticism. There’s a fear to stand out and do something that’s not part of the norm. But I’ve learned that, if you genuinely want to do something amazing, you can’t be afraid of hearing this phrase. Don’t be afraid of your own greatness," she finished.

Campaigns from sporting giants like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour have been credited with encouraging more women to participate in exercise. The Nike+ Training Club recently saw more than half a million women worldwide get involved in the sport, including in regions where women wouldn’t typically exercise or wear athletic clothing.

Nike's 'What Will They Think' follows on from the launch of its 'Equality' campaign which stars Nike athletes, including LeBron James and Serena Williams amplifying their voices in an effort to uplift, open eyes and bring the positive values that sport can represent into wider focus.