Nike's new spot for new maternity line Nike (M) features pregnant and breastfeeding athletes, and it's markedly different from any ad you've seen from the brand before.
Following hard on the heels of several other commercials depicting breastfeeding women in a more authentic and open way, including campaigns from Tommee Tippee, Frida Mom and Maltesers, the spot depicts more than 20 mothers in various stages of pregnancy as well as postpartum.
"Can you be an athlete? You, pregnant?" begins the voiceover, by actor Kiziana Jean-Louis.
The ad then shows the women taking part in a range of sports from athletics to surfing, tennis, yoga and weightlifting. Famous sport stars including Serena Williams, Alex Morgan, Perri Edwards, Bianca Williams, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Nia Ali appear alongside everyday female athletes. Intermixed are scenes of women engaging in sport, lifting their babies, practicing with their children (Williams is pictured playing tennis with daughter Alexis). In one scene, Aurelie Louis-Alexandre, the co-founder of Flawless Yoga, is shown pumping milk for her baby.
The spot was created and produced by Wieden & Kennedy London and was compiled from more than 22 hours of footage shot by the mothers, their friends and families during the pandemic. Each respective shoot was directed via Zoom. Trim Editorial handled the edit.
The spot debuted on Instagram and is running online globally. It promotes Nike (M), Nike's maternity line which began rollout in September 2020. Already available in North America, Europe and Africa, it will be released in select Asia Pacific and Latin American markets beginning late 2021.
Nike has come a long way since 2019, when its attitude towards pregnant athletes was heavily criticized after a New York Times opinion piece written by Olympic track athlete Allyson Felix, who was formerly sponsored by Nike, went viral. There was a public outcry and later that year, Nike announced a new maternity policy for all sponsored athletes.
On her part, Felix herself promoted the ad on Twitter, noting, "It reminds mothers that they are athletes. It celebrates mothers. It speaks truth. It’s powerful. It’s brilliant marketing. I agree with every word in this ad." She added, however, "I also think you should watch this ad so that you will hold Nike accountable for it. ... It was also hard to watch. My experience, along with many others, forced NIKE to support athlete's maternity, and when I watch this ad, it doesn’t seem to acknowledge that war."