2018 Glass: The Award for Change

JUST DO IT: CASTER SEMENYA

Short List
ClientNIKE SOUTH AFRICA
Category A01. Glass
TitleJUST DO IT: CASTER SEMENYA
Product/ServiceNIKE SOUTH AFRICA
Entrant WIEDEN+KENNEDY AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Idea Creation WIEDEN+KENNEDY AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Production PARK PICTURES London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 2 TRIM EDITING London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 3 WAVE STUDIOS London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production 4 GLASSWORKS Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS
Production 5 BEATWORMS Los Angeles, USA
Credits
Name Company Position
Eric Quennoy, Mark Bernath Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Executive Creative Directors
Evgeny Primachenko, Hannah Smit, Craig Williams Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Creative Directors
Teresa Montenegro Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Art Director
Christopher Cryer Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Copywriter
Joe Togneri Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Head of Production
Michael MacMillan Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Executive Producer Broadcast
Magda Czyz Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Broadcast Producer
Maud Klarenbeek Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Executive Producer Art
Kate Barrett, Stacey Prudden Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Art Producers
Stephane Missier Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Planning Director
Hillary Heath Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Communications Planner Director
Kathryn Addo Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Group Account Director
Amber Martin Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Account Director
Cassandre Beck, Molly Rugg Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Account Managers
Joe Burrin Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Head of Design
Lizzie Murray Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Studio Director
Gustav von Platen Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Designer
Noa Redero Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Studio Artist
Loes Poot Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Project Manager
Fiona Fan Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam Business Affairs
AG Rojas Park Pictures Director
Rina Yang Park Pictures Director of Photography
Nick Goldsmith Park Pictures Producer
Stephen Brierley Park Pictures Executive Producer

Background

In 2018, the IAAF brought in new rules regarding testosterone levels, seemingly targeting women like Caster Semenya who have hyperandrogenism (a condition where her body produces more testosterone than most women), which some have argued gives her an unfair advantage in competition. In this newest attempt to sideline her for being different, Caster feels that she has nothing left to lose in a sport that has so clearly targeted her as an athlete. While this may seem daunting for some, it actually fuels Caster – leaving her feeling more powerful than she’s ever been, the most dangerous competitor in the arena. The brief was to show Caster’s story and strength in the face of this opposition. To show her as the powerful athlete and woman that she is and always has been, regardless of this criticism. And, in turn, to encourage young girls to continue to feel the same strength and confidence as Caster. We created a statement with Nike showing their unequivocal support for Caster in her last races before the ruling will come into effect.

Describe the cultural/social/political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context

At a time when the global narrative around female equality is so prominent and important, one of Nike’s most successful female athletes continues to be targeted and victimised for being different. In a latest ruling by the IAAF regarding testosterone levels, Caster who has hyperandrogenism (a condition where her body naturally produces more testosterone than most women) is being accused of having an unfair advantage in competition. When she is actually just competing naturally as the woman she is. This campaign was about supporting Caster when it matters most in her athletic journey, in her last races before the ruling comes into effect. We wanted to show Caster’s story and strength in the face of this opposition. To show her as the powerful athlete and woman that she is and always has been, regardless of this criticism. This statement from Nike showed their unequivocal support for Caster and has become an important statement and inspiration for women in South Africa and around the women.

Describe the creative idea

When you’re born to do it—Just do it. Our idea is a defiant show of support for an athlete unfairly questioned about her gender. Sending a message to her accusers, while also acting as a rallying cry to any female athlete who feel they have been sidelined for being different.

Describe the strategy

Sport has always been a place where genetic outliers shine. Usain Bolt’s long legs, fast-twitch fibres & superior ACTN3 levels (sprinting gene) allow him to sprint faster than everyone. Michael Phelps’s wingspan and large hands & feet made him essentially designed to swim. Giannis’ extraordinary measures in addition to 13.5 inches Achilles (almost double the average adult male length) make him the new NBA prototype. That’s the whole point. Great athletes are not normal. They are supreme beings. These natural advantages (along with drive, hard work and dreams) unearth new possibilities and push our limits as athletes and humans. The question is, why is is Caster being targeted for being naturally different? So instead of focusing on why she is different - we wanted to show her story, a story that everyone can relate to. Her natural talent, hard work, humanity and the power of making her dreams a reality.

Describe the execution

We teased the launch of the campaign with a typographic GIF on Nike and Caster’s social channels stating ‘I AM CASTER, I AM FASTER.’ Next, a double-page print in South Africa’s largest Sunday Newspaper that had a powerful photo of Caster mid-run with the provocative line: ‘Too fast? Too bad. She was born to do this.’ Then, on the weekend before her last race, we launched a 60” film on South African television, starring Caster and directed by AG Rojas. While a longer version was released on Nike’s global YouTube channel. Right before her last race, we had one of Caster’s heroes and fellow Nike athletes, LeBron James, surprise her with a ‘I AM CASTER, I AM FASTER’ t-shirt, while wearing one himself.

Describe the results/impact

The campaign got over 84.5M impressions. While the film achieved over 18.5M views. It created incredible conversation in earned media, not just in South Africa but across the globe, with statements such as: “Caster Semenya’s Ad changed the Game” - Elle “Nike slaps down the Haters” - Times “Goosebumps” - Channel 24 “Knocked it out of the Park” - ESPN Sparking debate and messages of support on social media, making #JustDoIt the number 1 trending hashtag in South Africa.