One of my favorite video ads is “Voice of Belief”, the Serena Williams and Nike video created by Wieden + Kennedy. The story evokes many emotions, especially through the voice of Richard Williams, Serena’s father, who coaches and motivates young Serena. I love that the story focuses on Serena’s relationship with her father as it connects to my relationship with my dad growing up. Although I’m far from ever becoming a tennis champion, my dad coached and motivated me in sports like baseball, basketball, and football. I connected with the video because I’ve had a similar experience to Serena’s.
Watch the ad below:
In the video, Richard tells Serena that success comes from hard work, while also emphasizing a north-star in her mind – “this is you at the US Open.” In the video, Serena fails – she misses a shot – but her father’s voice keeps her determined to perform better. In the end, Serena wins at the US Open. The camera pans to show the joy of her father in the background. Richard and Serena lock eyes, celebrating passionately because they know the years of work that it took; no one else can understand.
This reminds me of the hard work it takes to achieve something. I remember coming home after my first semester at the University of California, Berkeley and realizing that little had changed at home, yet I had grown a lot! No one in my family understood the intense studying and all-nighters I had been through to achieve all A’s my first semester. No one understands the hard work that goes on behind-the-scenes of seemingly reasonable accomplishments. The final moments of the video ad shows a moment between Serena and Richard that conjures their celebration of knowing that the hard work was worth it.
Why this is a powerful ad for Nike?
The connection to Serena’s hard work and Nike’s brand produces empowering thoughts that are associated with wearing Nike’s gear. Although Serena is the hero of the story, she’s shown wearing Nike clothes and shoes. At the very end, Nike takes the main stage with the “Just do it” slogan. That’s a powerful message. Serena started out as a little kid, stuck with Tennis, had support from her father, and became a champion — all because she got started. Sometimes that’s all we need. It’s a little push that reminds us that greatness comes from taking action and putting in the work. That ~1min video moved me to continue working at it. How about you?
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