On an Oscars night that was powered by women, a new Nike ad that debuted during the broadcast featured tennis superstar Serena Williams telling how she overcame the cries of her detractors to find success.
With International Women’s Day coming up on March 8, Nike wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women everywhere in a push for gender equality that was, in this case, delivered by Williams.
The spot, by Wieden+Kennedy Portland, shows quick shots of Williams as a young tennis player. The film then flashes forward to scenes of her powerful tennis game with her voiceover stating how she pushed past all the calls of why she could never succeed.
“I’ve never been the right kind of woman – oversized, overconfident, too mean…too black for my tennis whites, too motivated for motherhood," she says. "But I’m proving, time and time again, there’s no wrong way to be a woman.”
The ad is tagged 'Until We All Win'.
“When I was younger, sport gave me purpose and kept me motivated," said Williams. "Tennis helped build confidence and instilled in me discipline and a strong work ethic. It was an amazing foundation that helped shape me into the person I am today, both on and off the court.
"Over time, I became much more conscious of the impact I had, and I became more conscious of what I had to do to make a difference. I embrace being a leader and continuing to pave the way for the next generation. I’m still looking to the future, to breaking down additional barriers like gender equality and pay equality. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and I’m going to keep on going and working at it, and I encourage others to use their voice and their platforms to do that same.”
Williams was personally involved with the film, but not only in the voiceover – she also reviewed and approved the script, visuals, print ad and final film.
Nike said it believes in the power of sport to move the world forward and is committed to giving women and girls an opportunity to realize their full potential – on and off the field of play.
The Oscars provided a winning moment to debut the film, with a culturally relevant topic that also resonates within Hollywood and echoed through the empowering Oscars broadcast. It’s a topic Williams wants to bring to her baby daughter, Alexis.
“I want my daughter to be truthful and honest, strong and powerful; to realize that she can impact those around her," she said. "I want her to grow up knowing a woman’s voice is extremely powerful. As females, we need to continue to be loud and make sure we are heard."