Nike ‘Dream Crazier’ Ad: Empowering or Provoking?

Following the debut of Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’ ad, Account Junior Claudia has been analysing gender stereotypes and what it means to be a woman in today’s society. Here, she discusses not only the ad, but the use of female empowerment in advertising.

As someone who is at the start of (hopefully) a long marketing career, it is always exciting to see brands discussing the bigger issues in their ads – especially when it’s the big players leading the way. On February 24th, Nike aired its ‘Dream Crazier’ ad which is centred around the idea of redefining what it means to be a ‘crazy woman’.

It is narrated by champion tennis player Serena Williams – who explains double standards between male and female athletes with a call to action empowering female viewers to believe in their ‘crazy’ dreams. Personally, I was extremely moved by this and was questioning the sentiment long after it had stopped playing. But ultimately, it left me believing that I could achieve more because after all, weren’t all of the greatest accomplishments ‘crazy’ before they were achieved?

Although I loved this advert and I don’t personally question Nike’s authenticity, it does make me examine the morals behind similar, controversial ads. We saw it from Iceland at Christmas and earlier this year from Gillette – so it’s highly likely that brands know that they can create a big talking point from creating such topical ads. I doubt that big corporations like Nike would use such an important cause as the theme of an advert purely to drive engagement alone, but the phrase ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ does spring to mind because this style is becoming increasingly popular.

As it stands, this ad has received thousands of positive comments across social media with anecdotes from women who have achieved their dreams despite various forces working against them. However as expected, there were those who weren’t impressed, branding it as delusional and irresponsible that brands such as Nike would even entertain the idea that women could achieve the same, if not more, than men.

Female empowerment can be a risky topic, especially in today’s climate. Sometimes these campaigns provoke offended, angry men or leave disheartened women feeling like they don’t do enough to stand up for their fellow females. But in my opinion the majority strive for equality between men and women so that both feel great about themselves – and surely that’s what counts? I don’t want to sound preachy, but I think it’s important for us as consumers to realise that just because an ad is empowering for one group of people, doesn’t mean it’s automatically criticising or tearing another down.

It’s always going to be a challenge to please every consumer in today’s culture, so brands really have to be prepared for critique and have the ability to back-up their campaigns with rationale and/or statistics.

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