Cannes Lions

Gatorade: Love Means Everything

TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Los Angeles / GATORADE / 2023

Film
Film
Case Film

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

A once-in-a-lifetime talent, Serena Williams would be “evolving” away from the game that she had forever changed. As one of Gatorade’s longest-standing athlete partners, the brand wanted to celebrate Serena and pay homage to her impact on and off the court in an iconic way fitting of the G.O.A.T. and in line with the brand’s mission for stronger representation and equity in sport.

Long an inspiration to millions, but especially young women of color, this was an opportunity to celebrate the characteristics and behaviors Serena used to empower herself to break barriers and push herself to greatness.

Idea

In tennis, “love” means a zero score – nothing. With Serena, “love” meant so much more. Self-love fueled her to become who she is today. We told the story of how Serena’s legacy started at self-love and then inspired others to do the same in sports and beyond – particularly with Black and Brown women, who were introduced to Black female athleticism and power through Serena. That self-love is helping them become and do anything they want. This insight differentiated our message from other brands speaking to Serena's on-court impact, and proved that Serena is the greatest in a culturally relevant way that goes further than sports. Gatorade was able to continue their brand mission to rally equity – in sports and beyond. The movement that Serena has started has grown to millions of people worldwide, making Serena an icon. This idea allowed us to tell and champion their story.

Strategy

Young girls, especially girls of color, are less likely to play and stay in sport because they often don’t see anyone who looks like them who provides inspiration and relevance.

Serena Williams’ representation of self-love as a Black woman, in a sport like tennis, made shockwaves. It ignited people’s hearts in a way never seen before, starting with Black and Brown women, before growing to millions worldwide.

Serena believed in herself to brave societal and physical barriers every day in her sport. This unwavering confidence and belief were just as important to her success as her dominating serve and powerful groundstrokes.

Our strategy was to bring to life Serena’s belief that nothing could hold you back, as long as you loved being you.

Execution

When we start the film, we hear Beyoncé Knowles-Carter poetic narrating, “When the world writes her down in history…” while we see a young girl, watching Serena on the television. This begins a chain reaction sparked by moments in Serena’s life, from her most famous victories to her iconic celebrations, hearing “being a queen unapologetically” to “love being one of a kind.” We see her impact in culture, her beginnings, and her future – Olympia. Serena’s unique confidence is then seen within a cast of real individuals – mainly Black and Brown girls – inspired by Serena to conquer their special talents and gifts. These scenes build to a collection of televised moments of Serena’s career. We end back on the young girl, watching Serena wave to the crowds. The transfixed girl turns to the camera, looking inspired to be like Serena.

Outcome

Reach

Gatorade’s support for Serena Williams was everywhere. Storytelling generated overwhelming coverage and conversation– nearly 700 Placements and over 20 BILLION Impressions in earned media. The Serena Tribute became a top trending conversation on social and was honored as Ad of the Year by Adweek and Fast Company.

Brand Impact

Hours before Serena Williams would play what may be her final tournament, Gatorade dropped one of its most impactful campaigns of all time – in honor of the greatest of all time. The “Love Means Everything” tribute was narrated by Serena’s dear friend, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and debuted during the VMAs, the evening before the U.S. Open. With Beyoncé’s latest album topping the charts, and Serena at the top of newsfeeds, Gatorade masterfully plugged into existing cultural conversations. But “Love Means Everything” represented more than just a moment. It represented the barriers that Serena broke as a woman, mother, and champion.

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