Why Serena Williams & Bumble Teamed Up For The Ball is in Her Court" Campaign

Courtesy of Bumble

While you may know Bumble as a dating app, it’s also a way to meet friends, through their BFF feature, as well as network through Bumble Bizz. In all three categories, it’s also renowned for being a platform wherein women make the first move — for instance, in dating matches between men and women, women message the men first, and within 24 hours. Now, Bumble has partnered with Serena Williams for their global “Make The First Move” campaign. The partnership is slated to go live during Super Bowl LIII on February 3 in Atlanta. And, to celebrate the partnership and campaign, Bumble has launched an in-app opportunity so users nationwide have a chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl. Through January 13, all you have to do is swipe as usual — and one of your matches could be a card indicating that you’ll be going to the big game.

Overall, the new Bumble campaign is focused around women making the first move in every aspect of life, whether it be dating, friendship, and/or business, and it will extend throughout the year. As Bumble’s global advisor, Williams aims to reinforce the platform’s mission to end misogyny and empower women around the world.

Partnering with Serena Williams has been a dream of mine since we launched Bumble, as she is one of the most inspiring women in history and a shining example of someone making the first move in all facets of her life,” Whitney Wolfe Herd, Bumble founder and CEO, said in a statement announcing the news. “She is a role model, a mom, an entrepreneur, and a fierce athlete. She is the epitome of strength, integrity, kindness, empowerment and everything Bumble stands for.”

Where The “Make The First Move” Idea Came From

Wolfe Herd first came up with the campaign’s concept back in 2014, when Bumble first launched — it now has over 47 million users worldwide. “One day, Whitney bought some pink tennis balls, slapped Bumble stickers on them, and took a photo, captioning it ‘the ball is in her court on Bumble,’” Alex Williamson, Bumble’s chief brand officer, tells Bustle. “She sent the photo to our team of four and told us if we worked really hard, maybe (just maybe!) we’d be able to partner with Serena Williams.”

Williams is the epitome of a woman who has the ball in her court in all aspects of life — friendship, love, and business, Williamson says. “Serena is a first-mover, and the embodiment of our brand,” she says.

Then, the campaign was developed, produced, and led by a team comprised entirely of women, and it will highlight the importance of women making the first move with a campaign called, “The Ball is in Her Court.”

Williamson says it’s important for women to remember that the ball is in their court in every facet of their lives. “For so long, women have been told to sit and wait for things to come to them — that they couldn’t make the first move in dating, because then she’d been seen as ‘desperate’; that she couldn’t ask for a raise, because then she’d be ‘aggressive’; that there must be something wrong with her if she wants to make new friends as an adult,” she says. “Women can do anything they want to do and create the life they want to live, if they make the initiative and take control of their lives.”

In a statement, Williams, too, said she’s had to make the first move. “In my life, I can confidently say that I would not be where I am today had I let the fear of making the first move hold me back,” she said. “Like Whitney Wolfe Herd, I am a firm believer in striving to achieve greatness as every single one of us holds the power to write our own stories.” She said she looks at her daughter and knows it is her duty to pave a powerful path for her and inspire women to "think like a champion."

The campaign aims to serve as a catalyst and reminder to women everywhere that the ball is in their court, Williamson says. “They never need to wait to find their power, because it is already within them,” she says. She adds that even if it seems intimidating, it's important to have the ball in your court.

“Surround yourself with people who make you the best version of yourself,” she says. “We encourage you to break up with the bad things in your life — it’s never too late to make the first move in any area of your life.” Williamson says that when you do, you have the opportunity to gain everything you’ve ever wanted, and your life is defined by your terms, not someone else’s.