#FairnessFirst: Nike 'dreams crazier' with Caster and Serena

Following on from their 'Dream Crazy' campaign which featured now-iconic athletic underdogs as Colin Kaepernick, Serena Williams and our own 800-metre double Olympic champion Caster Semenya, Nike's 'Dream crazier' again taps into the inclusion and equality mindset, and shows that girls who want to play like boys need to dream crazier, while serving to destigmatise and reframe the world's interpretation of 'crazy'.
A screen grab from Nike's 'Get crazier'.
A screen grab from Nike's 'Get crazier'.

Despite ample medals and broken records to prove her athletic prowess, the road to success continues to be a troubled one for Caster Semenya.

Just last week, she was in Switzerland appealing a new set of regulations from the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), where female athletes with a testosterone level above five nanomoles per litre will undergo hormone therapy to reduce their levels in order to take part in international competitions.

At the time, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation, Beauty Dlulane, emphasised the importance of denouncing racism and sexism in the sport, and said the IAAF’s insistence on changing the regulations will lead to many people viewing it as “a discriminatory world sporting organisation”.

Not normal = Nike love

On the other end of the discrimination scale is Nike – it’s once again shown support for outliers that shine by very virtue of the fact that they’re not normal.

They did so with last year's ‘Dream Crazy’, the Colin Kaepernick-narrated love story to celebrate the brand’s 30th anniversary while putting the spotlight on athletes who dare to dream big and follow their goals.

Now, Muse by Clio explains that Nike’s follow-up commercial by Wieden+Kennedy, titled ‘Dream Crazier’ and this time narrated by Serena Williams, aired on Sunday during the Oscars and serves as “a stirring salute to women athletes.”

Going beyond the ‘dream crazy’ scope of dreaming of achieving greatness in sports when the stacks are against you is ‘dream crazier’, which shows how passionately pursuing sports tends to put females at risk of being labelled as ‘crazy’.

Featuring such female sports stars as Olympic-gold-medal-winning gymnast Simone Biles, sabre fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, Williams’ voice-over during the scenes of Semenya’s success says it best – “When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us.”

But who says so? Why does being labelled as 'crazy' have to be a bad thing?

Show them what crazy can do!

Dream crazier also highlights the importance of reframing the world’s interpretation of mental health issues. The ad also, therefore, works to destigmatise the way we classify someone as 'crazy'. Williams urges:
If we show emotion, we're called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we're nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, we're delusional. When we stand for something, we're unhinged. When we're too good, there's something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we're hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.

But a woman running a marathon was crazy. A woman boxing was crazy. A woman dunking, crazy. Coaching an NBA team, crazy. A woman competing in a hijab; changing her sport; landing a double-cork 1080; or winning 23 grand slams, having a baby, and then coming back for more, crazy, crazy, crazy, and crazy. So if they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.
Hear, hear. Go out there and 'be crazy' about your passions.

Of course, there’s always more to be done in attaining true inclusivity…

But the ad has since been dubbed the best moment from the Oscars 2019, and we can see why.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

Let's do Biz