By Barry Janoff
July 31, 2014: When Kevin Plank, founder and CEO of Under Armour talks, people listen.
And what he was talking about on Thursday was a self-proclaimed "Womanifesto," to support what Under Armour is calling the biggest global marketing campaign to support its women's lines in company history.
"A few years ago, our women's lines represented 20% of our revenue. Now it represents 30% of our $3 billion revenue," Plank told a a gathering of media, employees and invited guests in New York to unveil "I Will What I Am," Under Armour's new marketing platform targeting women. "Our goal is to have (sales of women's lines) equal or surpass the men's category in the future."
Plank brought out some of the company's biggest female athlete endorsers to drive his point home: Olympic goal medalist and world class skier Lindsey Vonn, U.S. Women's National Soccer Team goal medal defender Kelley O'Hara, and Misty Copeland, female soloist for the American Ballet Theater.
All three will be featured in the new mutli-platform Under Armour campaign, estimated to be $15 million by industry analysts, with Copeland getting the lead solo ad just now breaking. All three are part of an ensemble spot that also includes Under Armour endorsers Sloane Stephens (tennis) and Brianna Cope (surfing).
"This is not a launch," Plank said of the campaign. "When you have a women's business that is already successful, you take it to the next level."
The campaign, which features Under Armour women's wear from its Fall/Winter 2014 collection, is as much as marketing tool as it is a brand enhancer. According to LeAnne Fremar, Under Armour's svp/creative director for women's apparel, many women consider Under Armour as a brand for guys. "We want to also show that Under Armour is a brand that understands how they think and feel, understands the challenges they face and have overcome and how they want to improve themselves through health and fitness."
Under Armour's last major marketing campaign targeting female athletes and consumers was in September 2012, which ran under the umbrella tag, "No Matter What, Sweat Every Day."
Under Armour said that Copeland was selected to star in the first ad for the campaign specifically because of the challenges she face and the road she had to travel to reach success. The spot opens with Copeland wearing new Under Armour workout apparel, practicing ballet moves. A young girl's voiceover is heard.
"Dear candidate. thank you for your application to our ballet academy. Unfortunately, you have not been accepted. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendon, torso length and bust. you have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered."
The spot segues into shots of Copeland dancing onstage with the text, "Misty Copeland: Nallerina Soloist, American Ballet Theater."
"I cried the first time I saw the ad," Copeland said after it aired for the gathering in New York.
The ensemble spot shows each of Under Armour's female endorsers going back to their rootls to talk about what drove them to succeed. The campaign will include solo spots for each of the women, print, Internet, social media, out-of-home and mobile. A dedicated micro-site will encourage consumers to submit their own experiences to support the tag line, "I Will What I Want."
The digital element will "serve as a community for women to track, analyze, and share their fitness and athletic lifestyle," according to Under Armour. Vonn, Copeland, O'Hara, Stephens and other Under Armour athletes will "actively participate, providing consumers with unique insights into their day-to-day activity and motivations."
Under Armour worked with Droga5, New York, to develop the campaign.
"Our women's business is not about taking our men's lines, shrinking them down and making them pink," said Plank. "Under Armour is about making all athletes better. This campaign is not about female athletes, but about athletic women."
Under Armour Hits The Ballet Stage With Misty Copeland
Back to Home Page