This week Serena Williams battled her way into the second round of the U.S. Open. As the quest to defend the title and win her first calendar Grand Slam continues, she managed to easily win the week of athlete advertising.
Both spots, first from Gatorade then Beats by Dre, give Williams the superstar storytelling service befitting her talent and accomplishments deserve and showing the other brands that have shied away from the tennis legend for various reasons how it can and should be done.
Read on for more about our picks of this week’s best brand creativity.
What: A celebration of the miracle of (a healthy digestive) life.
Who: Fiber One, Saatchi & Saatchi New York
Why We Care: Okay, okay, once you see this is a Fiber One ad the gag is busted, but what a hell of a gag it is. A bit crude, sure, but add in that pitch perfect Michael Bolton soundtrack and this bundle of joy is ad comedy gold.
What: A young Serena Williams makes a bold prediction.
Who: Gatorade, TBWA/Chiat/Day LA
Why We Care: A touching, inspiring, and expertly crafted ad that gives us a glimpse at Williams, before all the hype, the championships, the fame, and everything else that followed. The campaign also includes “Serena 21,” 21 pieces of art hand painted on a wall in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to celebrate each of Serena’s Grand Slams.
What: A two-part (watch Part Two here) ad created for the VMAs, follows The Weeknd off the MTV stage and into a surreal after-party life.
Who: Apple Music
Why We Care: Who knew it would work so perfectly? The Weeknd steals the show with a stunning performance of “I Can’t Feel My Face,” trots off stage and this is the commercial that plays to TV viewers immediately after. The pop star is wearing the same outfit and, according to Apple insiders, didn’t appear again at the show to keep the continuity of the ad intact. A cool story, stylishly told and John Travolta is the limo driver. Apple Music may have some issues, but marketing expertise isn’t one of them.
What: Listerine created a mobile app that enables blind people to detect when they are being smiled at.
Who: Listerine, JWT London
Why We Care: First, the idea for an app that uses facial recognition tech to detect a smile, then beeps and vibrates to let a blind person know about it is cool enough. But the film featuring four blind people talking about what smiles mean to them, and how not knowing if someone is smiling at them affects them is a heartwarming way to get the point across.
What: A glimpse at the hard work and sacrifice behind Serena’s success.
Who: Beats By Dre
Why We Care: This brand has quickly become the gold standard of inspired athlete marketing and this piece is no exception, as Serena gets her game face on to Andra Dey’s “Rise Up,” with a less-than subtle cross-marketing nod to Beat 1 and Apple Music.