The latest entry in Nike’s “No really, we’re spending Serious Money on women’s soccer” campaign is a three-minute ad that is, quite frankly, wild as hell. First of all, the very fact that’s it three minutes long. Second, there’s a bevy of world-best players all crammed into the ad. Third, well, we’ll explain in a minute.
Check it out:
Okay, so the list of who’s whos in this ad:
Andressa Alves (Brazil)
Sara Dabritz (Germany)
Crystal Dunn (United States)
Grace Geyoro (France)
Amandine Henry (France)
Ji So-Yun (South Korea)
Sam Kerr (Australia)
Fran Kirby (England)
Lieke Martens (Netherlands)
Asisat Oshoala (Nigeria)
Alex Scott (England, retired)
Danielle van de Donk (Netherlands)
Wang Shuang (China)
Notably absent are Canada, who might have made the switch to Nike too late to get in on this ad - although that might come as a relief to the notoriously spotlight-adverse Christine Sinclair, who would probably be the one Nike wanted out of Canada’s roster. You also get stuff like this:
That’s a bold, but entirely plausible prediction for the final, which is anxiety-making whichever hemisphere you’re coming from.
There’s some men’s players in there, which is cool, since they’re written in the ad as people who appreciate women in the game as coaches, as players, and as fun entertainment. The whole concept of Alex Scott as the Barca men’s coach is really fun, which actually if you had to pick a woman who would wind up there, Alex Scott is certainly someone you’d put high on the list just through her sheer moxie, let alone depth of knowledge about the game.
There’s a lot to like about the tone of the ad too, which is pure fantasy daydream material. There’s no somber music and serious voiceover about The Struggle and The Sacrifice. Those things are obviously important, and we’ve covered those topics in detail here at AfXI, but there’s room for fun, hyperbolic, outrageous dreams too. Let women fantasize about big lights and crowded stadiums - someday we’ll get there.
A lot of woso fans are probably old enough to remember when there was just no money in the game at all - and there still isn’t for many women’s teams, some of whom who have to go 12 rounds with their federations just to get friendlies scheduled. And now we’ve got a clearly multi-million dollar commercial, a shortened version of which aired during the Champions League final - not a cheap ad buy, one imagines - that envisions a world where women’s soccer is an enormous and popular global production. The game is getting there; every four years, we get reports of bigger and bigger numbers around viewership, which hopefully spurs more and more investment to build on the last cycle. This World Cup in France
We’re not going to pretend Nike isn’t an enormous corporation that is doing this purely out of a love of women’s sports. Clearly they’ve done research and know there’s a market here and they want to expand into it to make more money. But that in and of itself is also encouraging. Nike is not going to drop millions of dollars if they think this is a losing prospect. Women’s sports are worth the time and investment, and you’re just leaving money on the table if you refuse to get onboard. Now if only we could all get our World Cup jerseys shipped in time...