“There’s no wrong way to be a woman,” says tennis star Serena Williams in Nike’s ad featuring the athlete that dropped during the Oscars.
In a voiceover, Williams talks about how she’s overcome barriers related to her body image, personality, race and motherhood in the spot by Wieden+Kennedy‘s Portland office for International Women’s Day.
“Nike wanted to recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women everywhere and share our belief in gender equality, in this case, delivered by Serena Williams, the greatest athlete of all time,” Nike said in a statement.
The company chose to debut the ad during the Oscars to tap into a culturally relevant topic that resonates within Hollywood.
“… It was an ideal moment to leverage the platform to elevate this film and celebrate Serena Williams as a woman who has continued to break down barriers and inspired women everywhere,” Nike said.
Nike also revealed a print ad, also by W+K, that appeared in the New York Times:
The 30-second video shows footage of Williams dominating many a court, interjected with clips of her as an early tennis. It ends with the words “Until We All Win,” which is the title of the ad.
“I’ve never been the right kind of woman,” she says in the spot. “Oversized and over-confident. Too mean if I don’t smile. Too black for my tennis whites. Too motivated for motherhood. But I’m proving time and time again that there’s no wrong way to be a woman.”
Williams said in a statement that she never started playing tennis with the intention of breaking down barriers, but the sport gave her a platform and over time she become more conscious of her impact and ability to make a difference, especially when it comes to issues such as gender equality and pay equality.
“I embrace being a leader and continuing to pave the way for the next generation,” she told Adweek.
And that includes her six-month-old daughter Alexis:
“I want my daughter to be truthful and honest, strong and powerful; to realize that she can impact those around her. I want her to grow up knowing a woman’s voice is extremely powerful. As females, we need to continue to be loud and make sure we are heard.”
READ MORE: Adweek