It’s 2012. We’ve been able to vote for nearly a century and yet we still can’t quite receive as many commas in our paychecks as our male counterparts. So much for equality.
And still, despite all the obstacles we’ve faced and continue to encounter, many of us are now running large corporations, diving into fields traditionally dominated by men and even acting as the main breadwinners for their households. But as females continue to inch toward smashing that glass ceiling, it may be easy to forget what generations before were able to accomplish to get us where we are today.
In a new marketing campaign commemorating the 40th anniversary of the passage of Title IX – which prohibits sex discrimination in education – Nike is reminding us all of the groundbreaking accomplishments of female athletes.
The “Voices” advertisement features NBA stars like Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi, Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza and 1984 Olympic gold medal marathon runner Joan Benoit Samuelson, a 55-year-old who says she runs close to 70 miles per week – not sure my husband has even walked 70 miles in his entire life. The stars also lend their words in voiceovers with young girls dressed in shoulder pads and cleats symbolizing the strength and barrier-breaking mentality that I’ve clung to growing up in this country.
While these women have overcome some serious odds on and off the playing field – like Leslie, who said male teammates refused to pass her the ball – they want you to know they’re not delicate flowers who don’t want to get dirty. In fact, Leslie, – who, at 6-foot-5 towers over women and men – is a model, but she won’t hesitate to go to the rim against anybody.
“I’m a fashion model who can dunk,” she says in the ad. “Somebody’s gotta be the best – so why not me?”
Loved or reviled, Nike is no stranger to producing ad campaigns that really stir viewers’ emotions. Some of the best feature athletes who will never play professionally, but their high school days – much like mine – were filled with practices and games, moments of excitement and disappointment. And it’s in these moments that we really learn about ourselves and our character. We realize that we can compete at a high level no matter how much we’ve been told otherwise.
So, nice job, Nike. Your ads resonated with me – I may or may not have teared up a bit. You might even be a step closer to getting into my wallet.
What do you think of Nike’s new ads? Do you think other sports brands have been more effective with their marketing efforts?