Yes, we’re in the business of dreaming. In the newest commercial of Wieden + Kennedy Portland for Oregon’s world famous brand Nike, the U.S. women’s national soccer team is heralded by young female athletes from different sports, who walk out of locker rooms and into a stadium to support the soccer team. As the players get to the field, narrator and (black) actress Viola Davis says, “The craziest dream of all is the one that starts a million more.” The spot features prominent athletes including Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and 13-year-old professional soccer play Olivia Moultrie.
The great news is that the commercial is another tearjerker – it gives you good ol’ goosebumps. The not so great news is it came out on the same day – not coincidently Mother’s Day – that the New York Times published an article in which Nike acknowledged ‘that some of its sponsored athletes have had their sponsorship payments reduced because of pregnancies’.
The piece is not all black and white (‘The company says it changed its approach in 2018 so that athletes are no longer penalized‘) and I love Nike’s irreverence, but I do not like advertising for the sake of advertising. In the end, in this day and age, it must be real. Don’t just tell it, just do it.