W+K Portland concluded the Olympics-push portion of its “Unlimited” campaign for Nike with “Unlimited Will,” starring Kyle Maynard, although the brand subsequently released two spots made in collaboration with production company Dirty Robber, “Unlimited Pursuit” and “Unlimited Scout Basset.”
Now W+K turns its attention to Serena Williams ahead of this weekend’s U.S. Open Championship, celebrating the tennis icon’s “Unlimited Greatness” and staking a claim for her as the greatest athlete ever. That claim is sure to spark debate, and while it may seem a bit futile to compare athletes across both sports and eras, Williams has certainly dominated her sport to such a degree that it doesn’t come across as completely ridiculous.
Before getting to that point, W+K Portland communicates how far Williams has come through simple words such as “Compton,” “sister,” “pro,” “#304,” “top ten,” “#1,” “injured,” “comeback” and “legend.” Finally the words “greatest female athlete ever” appear onscreen, before the “female” is erased from that claim. As Adweek points out, that decision was likely inspired by a Wimbledon press conference two months ago when Williams was asked by a reporter how she felt about going down as “one of the greatest female athletes of all time” and responded “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time.'”
It makes for a pretty powerful moment, as regardless of how dubious any claim to such a title is by its very nature, it effectively communicates that Williams refuses to be defined by her gender. Nike also worked with a variety of athletes, as well as comedian Kevin Hart on a longer video offering words of encouragement to Serena as she prepares to compete at the U.S. Open.