A new ad from Nike swirled around the internet last week after making its first appearance during the Oscars. It's titled "Dream Crazier" and features narration Serena Williams, a women's tennis legend. Now, I love wearing Nike clothes to do yoga or go to the grocery store or class as much as the next non-athletic girl. But in theory, I really shouldn't care about an ad specifically focused on sports – especially considering I really don't care about sports. But Nike did a phenomenal job in terms of delivering a message women (both athletic queens and beautiful couch potatoes alike) can relate to.
When I was growing up, I heard things from both grown men and 1st-grade boys like:
"Girls are crazy."
"Women are too emotional."
"Girls can't play football."
It was baffling to me how they could spew such damaging rhetoric to young girls. In the ad, Williams narrates these all too familiar statements but combats them by giving visual examples of successful women in sports that have overcome degrading rhetoric.
"When we stand for something, we are unhinged."
I've seen my group of guy friends call women crazy and jokes in modern movies that stereotype women as insane. Women may have secured the right to vote 99 years ago, but they still aren't treated as equals to men. Nike's marketing and message behind this ad is one that so many women get behind because we've been there before; in the workplace, school, or other extracurricular activities. We've all experienced this kind of patronizing rhetoric.
Nike used a universal topic with universal representation among women. This ad included women of color, disabled women, gay women, women in hijabs, transgender women, mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends. For a target demographic that's usually so male-dominated, this was a great move on Nike's part to reach people they may have been missing in their previous advertising campaigns.
The real genius behind the marketing of the ad is that it uses a controversial and powerful message that quite honestly has nothing to do with athletic wear. Not once did the ad mention anything about buying Nike products. Companies with higher customer satisfaction and reception rate find themselves becoming more successful than those who do not (mo I don't have actual stats for you, but I'm a marketing major so just trust me on this). Nike no longer appears as a mass-producing active-wear company, but rather an organization who understands the reality that their consumers face.
Nike - Dream Crazier www.youtube.com
Let's call it the Jennifer Lawrence effect. Remember how everyone was obsessed with her back in 2014 because they thought she was super relatable? This same aspect applies to their marketing tactic, but on a broader, more inclusive scale.
With Nike's controversial history, this ad was a step in the right direction. Not only did they just acquire a part of the market they didn't have before - they have also encouraged women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, colors, orientations, and mindsets to not only persevere but to dream.