Try not to cry while watching Gatorade’s ad featuring archival footage of Serena Williams as a child. We dare you.

You can view the video here (after a brief advertisement from

Winner, champion, victor. Serena Williams is all of those things, but she didn’t get there without her low points. The professional tennis player is well known for her achievements and record-breaking history with several Olympic gold medals and over 20 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt. She’s been featured in multiple branded content spots, and now Gatorade has her onboard their “Win from Within” video campaign.

Created by interactive agency VML, the campaign focuses on athletes who have not only achieved success, but have also fought against great odds to get there. Unlike similar ads, though, this recent installation doesn’t rely on cinematic prowess to woo its viewers. Instead, it masterfully weaves together archival interview and competition footage of Serena progressing through the journey of wins and losses that made her the champ she is today.

The ad opens with a grinning 11-year-old Serena, instantly endearing. An interviewer presents her with a common question for a rising young athlete: “If you were a tennis player, who would you want to be like?” Serena hesitates, gears whirring; who is her inspiration? Who does she want to emulate?

Serena’s father, Richard Williams, raised his children in Compton, a historically dangerous suburb of Los Angeles commonly known as the birthplace of gangster rap. According to, Richard wanted his children to be challenged by the gang life surrounding them. He raised them to be hard workers who didn’t let their situations or challenges dictate their futures. Serena took this lesson to heart and has kept that toughness and determination with her ever since.

Serena Williams Celebrates Another Success

Serena Williams celebrates another success in Gatorade’s branded content video ad, “Win From Within.”

After a stirring montage showing the tennis player grow up – both failing and winning along the way but always pushing herself to her limits – the young Serena appears again. She is confident, prepared to answer the previously presented question. With a winning smile and charming positivity, she replies, “I’d like other people to be like me.”

Serena’s drive was not based in someone who had already achieved greatness. She looked to herself for inspiration. It was her own passion, talent, and determination that paved the way to her success. Like all of us, she has suffered disappointment and loss, but that didn’t stop her. Neither the success around her nor the failures behind her had enough power to kill her passion. A winner makes the most out of every loss, and by doing so, turns those losses into wins. Perhaps that’s what makes Serena such an inspiring woman athlete. She embodies Gatorade’s motto: Win from Within.

Ezra Productions shares VML’s method of creating video content (oftentimes with the use of archival footage) that emotionally connects with viewers through shared life experiences. For instance, the Montage, Day-in-the-Life, and Family Legacy videos we produce often contain older footage from our clients’ home videos. While these clips can lack cinematic quality, they make up for it with their raw, genuine emotions, just as in the footage edited together to create the Gatorade ad. Moments like that can connect with viewers in a powerfully unique way, and Gatorade’s campaign expertly utilizes that capability in Serena’s inspiring determination to be the best that she can be fueled by what is already inside her.