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Nike’s “Dream Crazier” campaign challenges double standards

Nike had already shaken the world with its original “Dream Crazy” campaign where Colin Kaepernick narrated an inspirational ad about athletes needing to dream big and do crazy things in order to leave meaningful legacies. The more meaningful undertone of that ad showed Nike as a brand that stands against the NFL and with the players who are choosing to kneel during the national anthem.  Now they are back, trying their hand at yet another socially charged commercial. This time the Dream Crazier ad is narrated by tennis superstar Serena Williams, and exclusively features female athletes who have broken barriers, faced countless obstacles and endured hecklers on their way to athletic greatness.

(Photo via The Telegraph)


The ad flashes between powerful images of important women in athletics, while criticizing the double standards that women face when standing up for or expressing themselves while competing. As the advertisement goes through various clips of athletes crying, yelling at referees or displaying anger in any way, Serena Williams narrates,


”If we dream of equal opportunity–delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.”


The narration and message of the ad intends to change the negative connotation of the word “crazy” when applied to women, more specifically to female athletes such as: Ibtihaj Muhammad, Simone Biles and Megan Rapinoe.  All of whom were featured in the advert.


(Photo via Nike)


Women in sports are often discredited once given the label of “crazy,” but when men show the same displays of emotion they are labeled as “passionate” or “invested in the game.” Serena Williams herself is no stranger to critics diminishing her accomplishments after she has lashed out in anger or frustration during a match, or when she passionately disputed an umpire’s call. During the 2018 US Open, she was given several penalties and a fine total of $17,000 for calls including illegal coaching, umpire abuse, and racket abuse. After the umpire accused her of illegal coaching, she demanded an apology from the umpire, which resulted in her penalty for umpire abuse. Williams thought this call was unfair because her fellow male tennis players had spoken to umpires in the same manner or worse and were never reprimanded for it. She claimed that the umpire was harsher towards her because she was a woman acting “hysterically.” This controversial situation brought to light the double standards women face in sports, and was further illuminated by the latest Nike ad.


While the Nike ad does exclusively feature female athletes, the message of the campaign can be applied to all women in the workplace. Women are often not taken seriously in not only athletics, but in all occupations because they are labeled as over-emotional, bossy, or hysterical. While men with the same characteristics are described as passionate, good leaders, and fervent. Instead of constantly worrying about speaking out of turn or acting too aggressively, the ad encourages women in all positions to stand up for themselves, pursue any and all goals, and express their emotions and grievances as they see fit.


Isabella Guerrero

UC Riverside '21

A writer learning as I go.
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