Much of 2018 wasn’t exactly all sunshine and rainbows for CEO and President Mark Parker and global icon Nike. In an attempt to get on the right side of history, the company launched its 30th Anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign with an advertisement titled “Dream Crazy.” All the focus shifted to Colin Kaepernick, the commercial’s narrator and campaign centerpiece, but what was missed was Nike’s message that female athletes are rising to the challenge of being equal to — and in some cases greater than — the men.
Nike followed up their first ad with another one titled “Dream Crazier.” As soon as the commercial hit the Internet, it’s all anyone could talk about. From start to finish, influential and ground-breaking women in sports history are honored over a 90-second spot of pure emotion. If you still bash Nike after seeing this ad, you need a serious reality check.
No woman in the sports world is more impactful than Serena Williams. The 23-time tennis Grand Slam champion is on the Mount Rushmore of female athletics and champions women competing at the highest level. She’s also the author of several books including ‘My Life: Queen of the Court‘ that became a best-seller, and you should absolutely buy it on Amazon right here.
Williams’ narration of the commercial is nothing short of awe-inspiring, and I haven’t made it through this yet without chills running down my spine. Congrats to Nike for bringing women to the forefront and reminding everyone exactly what “crazy” can do.
Nike — Dream Crazier
Featured in the commercial are athletes like female football player Sam Gordon, who you might remember from the NFL 100 Super Bowl Commercial. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and Megan Rapnioe are recognized not only for their international dominance, but for fighting to receive higher wages to finally rival the men who they outshine.
Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, NBA coach Becky Hammon, 11-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad — the first U.S. woman to compete in the Olympics wearing the Nike Pro Hijab — were all honored as some of the greatest athletes in the world and for redefining sports as we know them.
In a piece titled ‘A New Era of Dreams,‘ Rosemary St. Clair, who is the general manager of Nike Women and vice-president for the company, discusses Nike’s change in vision when it comes to women’s athletics:
“For Nike, it has become a catalyst for a recalibration of our ideas. There are more and more ways for women to participate in sport. When they hit a PR in a race, deadlift their body weight, nail an arm balance or even just cover their first mile — it all creates confidence by allowing them to say, “I did that.” We want everyone to participate in sport — and not just every now and then but regularly — and we know that to support the dream we have to lead a conversation regarding a variety of desires and needs.”
— Rosemary St. Clair
This new Nike ad proves that a woman dunking, double-cork 1080s, a woman boxing, and even girls being both a football player and homecoming queen start with having a crazy dream. Nike doubled-down on its “Just Do It” campaign by bringing Kaepernick’s original message back once again: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Time for next generation of athletes — especially the girls — to go out and show everyone exactly what crazy can do.
This article was originally published February 25, 2019.