in print and online, serena steps up


While CNBC’s Darren Rovell has spent a lot of energy covering the many marketing moves of Ana Ivanovic (and what a great job he’s done), I feel like the recent developments in Serena‘s world deserve mention…

Back on the web: First, after being MIA at least since the beginning of 2007, her official website is back up and running. I’m not in love with that cursive font she uses in her note to fans, but hey it’s a start. Not sure what’s going to happen with her blog. (It’s been cited in a few media outlets — who I can only assume fact-check — so we’ll go with it.)

HP’s “Hands”: Serena is also the latest star of HP’s ads which have previously featured Shaun White and Vera Wang. The TV ad focuses on her passions, “including tennis, fashion, movies, video games, animation, and music.” They’ll run on USA and ESPN (and online at

The ad also plays when users visit the “Serena Web Experience” — a mash-up of vlogs (from friends and family), downloadable ringtones (her grunts!!), and clips of her Jackass moment with Wee Man — involving a pineapple, of all things.

FYI: The ads were created by Omnicom Group‘s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

How does Serena choose endorsements?:

I don’t take every offer that comes along — I get a lot of them. I think sometimes my agent (Jill Smoller) gets mad at me! Not really; she understands, but she does kid me about it: “Are you going to turn down everything?” I don’t want to attach my name, like some athletes or celebrities or whatever, to just anything. It has to fit my values, my personality. … And my partners are always involved in philanthropic things. They’re companies that give back, and that goes well with me. It’s not really about the money. … [The brand of] Serena Williams is not for the now; it’s for a lifetime. (via Ad Age)

Boobs, schmoobs: And Serena takes part in a series of ads by Nike Women which comment on the place of women in sports. Manhattan got a billboard from the campaign in time for the U.S. Open. It’s a picture of Serena Williams wearing a blue shirt printed with the word “ATHLETE”. The accompanying text asks, “Are you looking at my titles?” Titles, titties — get it?

AdRants wonders why Nike would stoop to the level of objectifying women if the point is to move away from that. (But female fans drool over male athletes all the time, so I guess it’s okay…)

FYI: As a part of the campaign, Nike founded the Let Me Play Fund with $425,000 in cash and equipment. The fund will benefit women’s sports orgs.

(via DTL)


4 Responses to “in print and online, serena steps up”

  1. maddawg Says:

    ugh, Ana Ivanovic is so last week.

  2. Erwin Says:

    hahaha. you kids keep me young!

  3. butter Says:

    ahaha…nike,nike, nike

  4. Joshua Says:

    I don’t think it’s true that these ads are intended to “objectify” women. Certainly Serena wouldn’t think so. Remember her “Greatest Road Trip In Sports” spot where she holds up earrings that “send a message” and one of the messages is “I can kick your butt and still look hot doing it”?

    The point of the ad is to say, in fact, that while there’s nothing wrong with enjoying Serena’s tits (or booty!) she is much, much more than that. She’s also one of the most successful tennis players of all time. A woman can be sexy, and be proud of being sexy, and still not be an “object.” [Note that I don’t actually think Serena is that sexy, although I love love love her hair these days!]

    It’s sort of like those ads for some foundation or whatever where a series of female athletes say “I fly, I run, I swim, I jump” and then “I hit . . . like a girl!” Does that ad diminish female athletics by invoking a stereotype? Or does it, in fact, empower and elevate female athletics by allowing women to be proud of their accomplishments?

    Serena’s got a rack. Why shouldn’t she, and the rest of us, enjoy it? But we’re still looking at her titles.

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