“She couldn’t stop winning”: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy and Zendaya pay tribute to Serena Williams
Looking back at the athlete’s legendary career via historic footage, Wieden+Kennedy reflects on Serena William’s impact in the sport and beyond.
- 5 September 2022
- Liz Gorny
Nike’s latest film, a tribute to Serena Williams, is only 60 seconds in length. Within the short runtime, the film charts the athlete’s incomparable rise, cataloguing her triumphs not only in sport but in her steadfast commitment to her sense of self, and how she has become a role model to countless others. The celebratory new work, voiced by Zendaya, comes from Wieden+Kennedy, the latest in a long-running and fruitful collaboration between the agency and Nike.
This year alone, Wieden+Kennedy Portland has produced Nike’s memorable 50th-anniversary ad, which saw Spike Lee break down history’s greatest sporting moments in character as Mars Blackmon. In 2020, Wieden+Kennedy Portland worked on another iconic campaign for Nike with a similar utilisation of archive footage: You Can’t Stop Us. The agency combed through over 4,000 hours of footage to produce the work, pairing archival sports shots perfectly alongside new footage to illustrate how athletes are striving to improve the old status quo.
While many of Wieden+Kennedy’s campaigns for Nike have focused on the collective, the new film focuses on one icon with the tagline “By Changing Nothing, She Changed Everything”. Opening with images of Williams' hometown of Compton – paired with Zendaya’s voiceover “When the world judged her home, she repped her city” – Nike and Wieden+Kennedy take us through scrapbook-like familial shots and onto the court. Highlighting how Williams has refused to hide “her flair”, “what was on her mind”, or who she is to succeed, the spot outlines her unwavering impact today.
Ever since Williams announced her decision to move in a “different direction” from tennis in Vogue’s September issue, countless athletes and brands have paid tributes to the athlete, with Beyonce voicing an ad from Gatorade paying homage to the movement of self-love she has inspired. Athletes like LeBron James have also honoured her legacy: “What you’ve done for the sport of tennis, what you’ve done for women and what you’ve done for the category of sport, period, is unprecedented.”
GalleryWieden+Kennedy: Nike, Serena Williams (Copyright © Nike, 2022)
Wieden+Kennedy: Nike, Serena Williams (Copyright © Nike, 2022)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, they worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.