Tennis legend Serena Williams and her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., who turned 2 years old on Sunday, appear via home-video footage in a new Chase commercial around its sponsorship of the U.S. Open—where Williams, a six-time champion, has advanced to Tuesday's quarterfinals.
We've seen this particular Williams-family doubles pairing before, in a lauded Chase ad launched by Droga5 during last year's Open. In that one, Williams recited the lyrics of LL Cool J's rap anthem "Mama Said Knock You Out," encapsulating her grit and determination upon returning to elite-level play after Alexis' birth.
This year's spot, also from Droga5, seeks to capture the duality of Serena as an athlete and a mom. Its primary goal is to reignite conversations around motherhood using the #ThisMama hashtag, which Chase also employed in 2018.
"We wanted to shine a light on the incredible strength of mothers, using Serena Williams as the embodiment of this strength," agency strategy director Sarah Garman tells Muse. "As both a nurturing mother and a fierce competitor, no matter what, she keeps going."
Compared to last year's commercial, the vibe's quieter this time around, though no less intense, as intimate images of the 23-time Gland Slam champion and her family—including husband Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit—flow across the screen.
Opening with an ultrasound picture of baby Alexis, the ad also shows scenes of Williams recovering from the difficult birth, breastfeeding and cuddling her newborn. As the child grows into a toddler, she drops mom's racquet with apparent disdain. At one point, there's a stirring shot of the racquet on the ground, dwarfed by Williams' shadow.
Devoted mother. Superstar athlete. Williams is both, and her two worlds are inextricably entwined, each feeding the other with continuous positive energy. Hence the tagline, "This Mama Keeps Going."
Audio from an interview following Williams' first Open win in 1999 seems to codify her present-day experience on and off court. "Everyone's just so supportive, and that really helped me," she says. "It's not like it came easy, I really had to work. … I've been practicing so long for this moment, and it came, and it's here."
The work will live on Chase's social channels, while Serena is supporting the campaign by posting the video on her feeds.
Might some viewers feel she's oversharing by putting tender family moments in a commercial?
"No, I don't believe so," says Droga5 executive creative director Tim Gordon. "We aimed to do motherhood justice by treating it with honesty and respect. This meant showing it all—the ups and downs, the late nights and early mornings, the trials and tribulations, and, of course, the joys."
Indeed, Williams ranks as one of the most beloved and iconic athletes of all time, based not only on her tennis achievements but largely because of her unflinching honesty. That quality, combined with her willingness to take chances, makes her one of the greatest advertising athletes of all time as well. She commands immediate attention and casts her brand partners in the best possible light.
Here, Chase raises its game by simply letting Williams be herself and deliver a passionate, profound message that's guaranteed to resonate with millions.
Campaign: This Mama Keeps Going
Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director: Tim Gordon
Associate Creative Director: Kia Heinnen
Senior Art Director: Sam McCluskey
Copywriter: Ben Brown
Art Director: Jackie Moran
Design Director: Chance Medder
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Director of Film Production: Jesse Brihn
Executive Producer, Film: Tricia Lentini Himot
Associate Producer, Film: Mateus DeFaria
Associate Producer, Film: Sean Tanner
Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Tom Vendittelli
Global Chief Strategy: Officer Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy: Harry Román-Torres
Group Strategy Director: Ramon Jimenez
Strategy Director: Sarah Garman
Strategist: Graham Jones
Chief Media Officer: Colleen Leddy
Senior Communications Strategist: Kevin Wilkerson
Group Data Strategy Director: Lily Ng
Senior Data Strategist: Daria Koren
Senior Data Strategist: Joy McKenzie
Executive Group Account Director: Lauren LaValle
Group Account Director: Sharif El Rabiey
Account Supervisor: Yardley Hansen
Account Supervisor: Megan Haggerty
Associate Account Manager: Melanie Fougeres
Group Project Manager: Audrey Weber
Chief Marketing Officer: Kristin Lemkau
Chief Brand Officer: Leanne Fremar
Head of Brand & Advertising - Consumer: Bank Jeff Pilarcik
VP, Brand & Advertising: John Anderson
Executive Director, Sports & Entertainment: Katherine Schoff
Editorial: Final Cut
Editor: Ashley Kreamer
Assistant Editor: Andre Castiglioni
President: Stephanie Apt
Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
Head of Production: Penny Ensley
Post Production: Significant Others
Executive Producer: Sarah Roebuck
Producer: Kyra Hendricks
Color Grade: Company 3
Sofie Barup: Senior Colorist
Alexandra Lubrano: Producer
Music: Found Objects
Track title: “The Moment is Here"
Composer: Jay Wadley
Executive Creative Director: Jay Wadley
Executive Creative Director: Trevor Gureckis
Creative Director: Ben Marshall
Executive Producer: Jennie Armon
Head of Production: Matt Nelson
Producer: Nick Chomowicz
Music Coordinator: Agatha Lee
Junior Creative: Adam Weiss
Sound Design: One Thousand Birds
Sound Designer: Andrew Tracy
Additional Sound: Machine
Additional Sound Design, Mix & Record: T. Terressa Tate