Serena Williams has become an icon for strong mothers everywhere, since winning her 23rd Grand Slam singles title while eight weeks pregnant, and returning with glory to the sport since giving birth, having last night got through to the US Open semi-finals. Last year, Droga5 celebrated her status with an air-punch-inducing ad for Chase bank – sponsors of the US Open – titled This Mama, showing Williams going from her baby’s nursery to the court, reciting the lyrics of LL Cool J’s _Mama Said Knock You Out”. This year, the campaign – titled This Mama Keeps Going – continues with a softer touch, drawing more clever parallels between worlds of high sporting achievement and motherhood.
Beginning with an image of an ultrasound, and showing deeply personal video clips of Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia as she grows from a newborn to a toddler, the audio at first appears to be a commentary on her journey as a mum. An interviewer says: “Serena, congratulations… how does it feel to hear those words,” and later she says, “Everyone’s just so supportive… it’s not like it came easy, I really had to work.” Then, the film reveals the audio to be taken from an interview with Williams after her first US Open win in 1999. Marking 20 years of her stellar career, the ad not only honours the player and her continued success after such a life-changing event, but represents a leap forward in the tropes of sports advertising.
“Some may have a vision that motherhood derails women in other aspects of their life," Droga5 said in a statement. “But moms everywhere know: the job doesn’t get easier, you get stronger. Serena is the embodiment of this strength. On social media, she is vulnerable and candid about motherhood. She celebrates the good days and talks openly about the bad, all while being an intimidating athlete and ferocious competitor. This year, we wanted to celebrate the duality of Serena as a mom and athlete, and shine a light on the incredible strength of mamas everywhere.”