Nike profiles Caster Semenya, the South African athlete whose career has been dogged by controversy, in the sports brand's latest “Just Do It” ad.
In a powerful spot by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam, directed by Park Pictures’ AG Rojas, Semenya addresses her critics head on by asking a series of questions. “Would it be easier for you if I wasn’t so fast? Will it be simpler I stopped winning? Would you be more comfortable if I was less proud?” We also see her journey to success in reverse, as footage of the adult Semenya rewinds to backwards recreations of her running as a young girl and taking her first steps as a baby. “That’s too bad,” she concludes. “Because I was born to do this.”
Throughout her career, Semenya has been subjected to speculation about her natural levels of testosterone. After “gender testing,” she was withdrawn from international competition in 2009 before being reinstated in 2010.
The film is running on South African TV and online, while the campaign also includes a double page print spread in South Africa's biggest Sunday newspaper and a typographical GIF for social media.
Semenya's appearance follows hard on the heels of Nike's use of another controversial athlete, Colin Kaepernick, in its latest, very divisive, U.S. campaign.