Nike’s “What Will They Say About You?” Campaign: Empowering Arab Women in Sports.

March 23, 2024


Nike's "What Will They Say About You?" campaign tackled the challenges faced by Arab women in sports. Traditionally, social norms and gender discrimination limited their participation. The campaign aimed to dismantle these barriers and empower women to pursue their athletic dreams. The ad featured five inspiring Muslim women athletes: Amal Mourad, Zahra Lari, Balqees Fathi, Ines Boubakri, and Arifa Bseiso. They represented various sports, showcasing the diversity of Arab female athleticism. Fatima Al Baqawi did the narration that resonated with the target audience, addressing their insecurities and encouraging them to become pioneers and role models.

The cinematography, with dynamic action shots and powerful close-ups, captured the athletes' determination and strengths. This visual approach emphasised the campaign's central theme of breaking barriers and creating an emotional connection with viewers. The campaign specifically addressed the struggles Muslim women faced due to cultural and religious expectations. By celebrating the achievements of these athletes, Nike challenged stereotypes and normalised hijab use in sports. This aligned with Nike's global commitment to supporting athletes who push boundaries. The campaign utilised a strategic media mix. The Arabic ad, with English subtitles, was released online on platforms like YouTube and Twitter. Eye-catching visuals and taglines adorned billboards across the Middle East. This ensured the campaign reached a wide audience and gained global recognition. Social media buzz, with women sharing their experiences of overcoming cultural limitations, fueled the campaign's success.

"What Will They Say About You?" proved to be a successful initiative for Nike. It promoted diversity and inclusion, resonating with women in the Middle East while furthering Nike's commitment to female athletes. The campaign likely contributed to the growth of Nike's women's sportswear segment, reaching $11 billion by 2020. While the Arab region has traditionally faced limitations on women's freedom, Nike's "What Will They Say About You?" campaign achieved unexpected success. It sparked a new conversation and empowered a rise in female hijab-wearing athletes.

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