“If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts.” Serena Williams’ voice, fronting Nike’s new Dream Crazier ad campaign, commands your senses, daring you to take notice. It hits you with the full force of bricks as the images of women crying, trying, winning, flash across the screen.
Let’s face it, Nike never does anything at half measures. When trying to push a cause, the sports apparel company goes all in. So it came as no surprise when their new ad, Dream Crazier, aired during the Academy Awards and social media went into overdrive.
Narrated by none other than Williams herself, it’s a social commentary on how women, no matter hard we try, can never be one of the boys. It hits close to the bone, and sadly it’s true.
Our very own Caster Semenya features, making it an even more powerful portrayal of when women are deemed too good, there’s something wrong with us. It’s an ingenious stroke on Nike’s behalf as the IAAF just this week ruled that women who have high levels of naturally occurring testosterone may not compete in women’s middle distance races unless they take medication to reduce those levels.
Nike's "Dream Crazier" ad shows how the #ManBox limits emotional expression. Men must hold it all in bc as @serenawilliams narrates, "When we stand for something, we're unhinged. And if we get angry, we're hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy." #HealthyManhood https://t.co/myHE9SFZUU— A CALL TO MEN (@acalltomen) February 25, 2019
Coincidence? Maybe not. Nike is not a company to shy away from controversy. Case in point is the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign. The US football player was a central figure in the NFL’s “take a knee” protests. Once the campaign went viral, Nike and Kaepernick were public enemies No.1 as fans angrily destroyed their Nike gear. And still, the sportswear giant continues to front campaigns that fill us with emotion, and most importantly, get us talking.
This 👏 is 👏 EVERYTHING 👏https://t.co/ygJEN4l9j3— espnW (@espnW) February 24, 2019
Other women in sport to feature include Olympic-gold-medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and even Williams.
I like this too, but it would be great if every time a company releases a viral “woman’s empowerment” ad it also publicly committed to gender parity and diverse inclusion on its board and in its c-suites: https://t.co/cMs5OpgG1p #NikeAd https://t.co/zB3h4hB3zv— Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly) February 25, 2019
Dream Crazier is a call to the sports community to take female athletes seriously. Yes, we’re temperamental and emotional, but at the end of the day we get the job done. And that’s all that matters.