It's a good time to make an ad with Serena Williams, and Beats by Dre has done a particularly good job of it. Hot off the tennis star's sixth U.S. Open win, her 18th major victory overall, the headphone brand is spotlighting the gym routine that helps her get so much crushing power on the court.
It would be standard-fare fitness footage if not for the fact that it continues Beats by Dre's habit of creating ads that feel more like exceptionally shot, psychologically rich sports-themed music videos rather than commercials.
In this case, the clip (from R/GA's London and Los Angeles offices) weaves in flashbacks to Williams's childhood in Compton, Calif., as she pushes through her workout, while the song "Black Unicorn" by 2 Chainz featuring Sunni Patterson plays.
The track is a spectacular match, with beautiful lyrics about struggle and success. And that goes a long way to making the spot feel greater than the sum of its parts—packed with a inspiring storyline about an athlete at the top of her game, rewarding to listen to and watch—even if it is also loaded with product shots that demonstrate the value proposition.