The Oscars may have been dominated by messages about women, but the actors weren’t the only ones being celebrated.
During a commercial break, Nike (NKE) debuted its new spot featuring Serena Williams to celebrate International Women’s Day. The ad features footage of Williams throughout her career as she voices over an account of all the ways she’s been criticized for not being womanly enough before saying “[b]ut I’m proving time and time again that there’s no wrong way to be a woman.” As the ad ends, the words “until we all win” appear on the screen.
In a statement about the ad, Williams said she hadn’t started playing tennis with the explicit intention of breaking down barriers, but that, “Over time, I became much more conscious of the impact I had, and I became more conscious of what I had to do to make a difference.” Over the past several years, Williams and her sister, Venus Williams, have become active philanthropists, focusing on bringing about equity through education and supporting the victims of violence.
A representative for Nike said in a statement that the company wanted to “recognize and celebrate the contributions and achievements of women everywhere and share our belief in gender equality.” The statement went on to say that the Oscars was a perfect time to launch the spot as the messages resonate so well in Hollywood.