Nike: What Are Girls Made Of?

Music for Commercials
  • Agency

    Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam

  • Director

    David Wilson

  • Production Company

    Riff Raff Films

Nike’s ‘What Are Girls Made Of?’ film challenges subtle, outdated notions of gender roles by highlighting some of the strongest athletes in Russia. The campaign celebrates the strength, power and spirit of Russian women, hoping to create a new dialogue around what’s possible.

Ahead of 2017 International Women’s Day, Nike released three local-market spots for women to convey a larger, global message – and we’re massively proud to have worked on two of them.


‘What Are Girls Made Of?’ is based on one of the most recognisable and loved songs from Russian childhood. Sung by children and parents from an early age, the song’s verses sweetly describe little girls as made of flowers, gossip and marmalade.

In the film, a young girl is shown singing the traditional verses. However, upon seeing some of Russia’s most accomplished athletes, the girl begins to change the lyrics of the classic song to include a more inspirational message.

Our biggest challenge was to translate an authentic Russian kids song into an orchestral and emotional soundtrack.


Auke Riemersma, Sound Engineer and Music Producer at MassiveMusic, explains: “We had to come up with the ideal structure for (partly new) lyrics and composition to match the story and message of Russian female athletes. If you listen to the original song you will notice that it has a light playful polka feel. Yet, together with Wieden+Kennedy’s creative team and director, we chose to support the message with the music, making a bold statement about self-empowerment and personal development,”.

He continues: “Low bass, percussion and ostinato strings were used, turning the song into a triumphant, powerful arrangement. The little girl’s vocals together with the choir and increasing dynamics made it possible to create the perfect contrast. We also arranged a musical guide for the vocals and choir recording which was subsequently used by the actors on set to lip sync the song for cameras.”

To highlight the girl’s transformation, we enhanced her initial sense of trepidation at performing on stage through the exaggerated heavy breathing and silence at the campaign’s start, before she begins reciting the anthem’s verses.


The end result is a commercial that resembles a music video, with the song as one of the main characters of the story.

Having music video director David Wilson on board – Tame Impala, Arcade Fire and Royal Blood among others – proves once again that music and storytelling blend together perfectly, often producing the best match possible.

What are girls made of then? Here’s what the revised lyrics say:

Made of bruises / And of punches / Made of bravery / And of clenched fists / Made of independence / And skills / Of passion and heart / And dignity / Made of will / That’s harder than flint / Made of strength / And fire / Made of freedom / From other people’s opinions / Made of accomplishments / And achievements / This is what our girls are made of.

Nike hopes to inspire girls and women with the courage to walk onto any field or court with the confidence to show the world what they’re made of. By using the power of sport to send a message about the strength of Russian women, they’re also hoping to encourage more young girls to get physically active.

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Auke Riemersma

Senior Music Producer