There is no argument when it comes to the fact that male athletes have always enjoyed more prestige and coverage compared to their female counterparts. This is the very idea that Nike tries to challenge with their latest chapter of the “Just Do It” series.
The heart racing three-minute advertisement was released ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and takes us on a visionary journey into the world of professional football. Through the perspective of Makena Cooke, a ten-year-old footballer from California, we are thrust into an almost dream like sequence where the young girl envisions an ideal world for female footballers where the limitations of a sexist society no longer apply.
We are introduced to some of the best female footballers today, as Cooke experiences everything from the high adrenaline of a match to the excitement of a professional photo shoot. It is Lieke Martens from the Netherlands who drags her into a match against Nigeria and what follows is a fast-paced sequence of various matches while holding on to players such as Fan Kirby from England or a short stint with the entire French team in their locker room. These matches are what get our blood racing and ignite a desire to watch the upcoming world cup, but it is the scenes that follow which are truly empowering for female athletes.
Nike reimagines the world to give us a montage of clips where female players achieve what the men have been able to for years. We see Wang Shuang of China being welcomed by record-breaking crowds and the Brazilian player Andressa Alves posing for the photoshoot of a bestselling football game featuring female players. Here we have a short cameo from the famous Brazilian forward Neymar Jr as he plays this very game in his living room. Another male football star appears in a supportive role within this female empowered world. We see Gerard Pique playing for Barcelona, but he is being advised by the former English player Alex Scott, the first female Premier League coach within this re-imagination.
The advertisement slows down towards the end as the Australian player Sam Kerr lets Cooke take a free kick in an almost metaphorical move. This is the point where Nike really drives their message home as we realize how the effort of current female athletes is paramount in creating a world where young girls like Cooke can dream to be just as successful as the boys. The ability to dream further is only made possible as the future of female sports learns from the present and that is what the ending message is all about, Nike wants you to change the world instead of your dream and the inspiration for doing so will be all the women playing in France this year.