Women's Empowerment in Nike Advertisements: A Multimodal Analysis





Femvertising, Metafunctions, Multimodality, Women's Empowerment


Aside from promoting certain products, advertisements are also utilized to promote social issues. One of the social issues promoted is women’s empowerment. This type of advertisement, which promotes women’s empowerment, is named as femvertising. In promoting this issue in a video advertisement, the combination of verbal modes and non-verbal modes are used to convey the message. The study examines two recent advertisements by Nike to reveal the message of women’s empowerment. The study used multimodal discourse analysis to examine the advertisements which were in the form of moving images, as it tried to uncover the modes present in both advertisements, and how those modes construct the discourse of women’s empowerment delivered by the narrators of both advertisements. In exploring the visual modes, Kress and van Leeuwen’s framework of visual grammar, which included representational meaning, interactive meaning, and compositional meaning, was used. The verbal analysis was explored using Hallidayan three layers of metafunction, which included the analysis of transitivity, mood structure, and theme-rheme. The study revealed that the interplay of all the modes that were analyzed put women to be doing sporting activities in sports-related settings, to possess more power than the viewers, as the most salient elements, and to be narrated with encouraging utterances in both advertisements.


Download data is not yet available.


Becker-Herby, E. (2016). The Rise of Femvertising: Authentically Reaching Female Consumers. University of Minnesota.

Bovee, C. L., & Arens, W. F. (1992). Contemporary Advertising (Fourth). Irwin, Inc.

Brantner, E. (2016). Just How Big Has the Internet Become? https://www.vice.com/en/article/yp3ejb/just-how-big-has-the-internet-become-5886b759b3515d45f3dc2f16

Cameron, D., & Panovic, I. (2014). Working with Written Discourse. SAGE Publications Ltd.

Codega, L. (2020). Nike commits off the field. https://www.shots.net/news/view/nike-comments-off-the-field

Domingo, M. (2011). Analyzing layering in textual design: a multimodal approach for examining cultural, linguistic, and social migrations in digital video. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(3), 219–30.

Dornyei, Z. (2007). Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. Oxford University Press.

Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. Longman.

Firmansyah, R. S., Tallapessy, A., & Wahyuningsih, I. (2019). Revealing Racial Hegemony in Nike Advertisement Campaigns on Youtube: A Systemic Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis. Haluan Sastra Budaya, 3(2), 189–203,. https://doi.org/10.20961/hsb.v3i2.32818.

Gray, A. A. (2019). Brands Take a Stand for Good: The Effect of Brand Activism on Social Media Engagement. Honors Theses and Capstones, 440. https://scholars.unh.edu/honors/440.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2003). Introduction: On the “architecture” of human language. In J. Webster (Ed.), On Language and Linguistics. Volume 3 in the Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday. Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K. (2004). Introduction: How Big is a Language? On the Power of Language. In J. Webster (Ed.), The Language of Science: Volume 5 in the Collected Works of M.A.K. Halliday. Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K., & Mathiessen, C. (2004). Halliday’s Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd Editio). Arnold.

Haratyan, F. (2011). Halliday’s SFL and Social Meaning. 2nd International Conference on Humanities, Historical, and Social Sciences, 260–264.

Kotler, P., & Sarkar, C. (2021). Brand Activism: From Purpose to Action. In Amazon Digital Services LLC - KDP Print US.

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Routledge.

Kress, G. (2012). Multimodal discourse analysis. In J. P. Gee & M. Hanford (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 35–50). Routledge.

Kress, G., & Leeuwen, T. (2006). Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Routledge.

NIKE. (2015). Nike Puts Women Front and Center for 40 Years and Counting. https://news.nike.com/news/nike-women-advertising-a-40-year-journey

Saz-Rubio, M. M. (2018). A multimodal approach to the analysis of gender stereotypes in contemporary British TV commercials: “women and men at work.” Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics, 54(2), 185–221. https://doi.org/10.1515/psicl-2018-0008.

Stanton, W. J. (1984). Fundamentals of Marketing. McGraw-Hill.

Tehseem, T., Sibtain, M., & Obaid, Z. (2019). Exploring Gender Stereotypes in Media Adverts: A Multimodal Analysis. Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 57(2), 155–175,. https://doi.org/10.46568/jssh.v57i2.42.

Verry, P. (2020). Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and Others Star in Nike’s Inspirational International Women’s Day Video. https://footwearnews.com/2020/focus/athletic-outdoor/nike-international-womens-day-serena-williams-megan-rapinoe-1202944593/

Xu, H., & Tan, Y. (2020). Can Beauty Advertisements Empower Women? A Critical Discourse Analysis of the SK-II’s “Change Destiny” Campaign. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 10(2), 176–88,. https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.1002.05.




How to Cite

Adrian, D., & Faiza, E. (2022). Women’s Empowerment in Nike Advertisements: A Multimodal Analysis. ELS Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, 5(3), 416-424. https://doi.org/10.34050/elsjish.v5i3.22081