Nike and Serena Williams Redefine What It Means to Call a Female Athlete Crazy

Spot, airing in the Oscars, is a follow-up to Kaepernick's 'Dream Crazier' ad

Serena Williams is shown in Nike's new spot.
Serena Williams narrates Nike's ad about the obstacles and double standards faced by female athletes. Nike
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

When Nike kicked off its celebration of the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” campaign with a two-minute spot featuring Colin Kaepernick, the brand spurred a conversation about the NFL, brand values and the short-term and long-term impact of a campaign

Now, just days after its brand-damaging shoe splitting incident, the company has unveiled its follow-up, a 90-second ad narrated by Serena Williams set to air during tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony on ABC. The spot, from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, not only champions the accomplishments of female athletes but serves as a call to action, telling viewers to “Dream Crazier.”

Nike has a long history of recognizing and highlighting female athletes,” explained a representative for Nike via email. “The ‘Dream Crazier’ spot is the start of a journey celebrating women in sport ahead of soccer’s biggest moment in France this summer. It is about helping athletes realize their full potential even in the face of adversity.” 

Athletes featured in the spot include Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim and members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. Williams, who starred in Nike’s 30-second Oscars spot last year, also appears in the ad. 

“The use of Serena Williams as the narrator amongst a number of athletes reflects her standing as one of the most inspirational athletes of her generation who empowers girls to continue to believe in their own crazy dream,” noted the representative. “Nike continues to champion female athletes and change the game for women in sports as it has for more than 40 years—inspiring and enabling female athletes of all levels to achieve their potential in sport and fitness.” 

The 90-second ad was directed by Kim Gehrig, who also directed a recent spot for Gillette that took on toxic masculinity.


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@KristinaMonllos Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.