Most consumers viewed Under Armour as a brand built for men before 2014. Despite that, the company had been incredibly successful raking in $2.3 billion in sales in 2013. However, their product line for women only accounted for $500 million.
To address this, they launched a Total Market campaign targeting women, “I Will What I Want.” It features several female athletes of diverse cultural backgrounds, who speak to the hurdles they had to overcome to reach success.
- Run a strong influencer campaign highlighting women who persevered hardships, and who now empower other females through their stories
- Convince women that Under Armour is durable and trendy
- Drive sales and build brand equity among women
- Surpass Adidas to become the second-largest domestic sportswear brand
“I Will What I Want” recognizes that it’s difficult to be a female athlete. The campaign seeks to empower and celebrate athletic women. So under Armour partnered with six women: ballerina Misty Copeland, model Gisele Bundchen, skiiers Sloane Stephens and Lindsey Vonn, surfer Brianna Cope, soccer player Kelley O’Hara, runner Natasha Hastings, and trainer Natalie Uhling. They all share a love for sports and persevered despite criticism.
Misty Copeland, for example, is the first African-American principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre. Growing up, she was often told that she didn’t have the right body type or skin color for ballet. Featuring strong female athletes like Copeland helped Under Armour convey the message of drive and perseverance.
They leveraged each story to run an effective influencer campaign. The women in the videos inspire their athletic female fan base to follow their dreams regardless of how many people shut them down. Under Armour created a microsite with brief biographies, and they also posted videos to their YouTube channel.
Some ads were also promoted on digital channels and TV, always with the hashtag #IWillWhatIWant.
“I Will What I Want” was a success, and a few spots went viral. The one featuring Copeland racked up over 10 million views on YouTube and Bundchen’s spot drove significant earned media. Following the campaign, the company’s sales reached $3 billion, andthey surpassed Adidas to become the second largest domestic sportswear brand.
This campaign effectively made a macho brand relevant to women. It’s authentic, interesting, and relatable. It engaged with four of our Stretch Strategies,execution strategies to activate across the Cultural Continuum. Here’s a preview of two:
- Extend the Invitation: Under Armour recognized that their brand wasn’t as appealing to women. By running a campaign that specifically empowered women to be athletic, they made female consumers feel more comfortable engaging with the brand.
- Find and Activate Cultural Influencers: This is a great example of influencer marketing. They effectively featuring athletic women who were successful and portrayed stories that female consumers could relate to. The videos felt authentic because the women opened up publicly about criticisms they faced.
Current clients can access the full case study: Under Armour Emphasizes Perseverance in their “I Will What I Want” Campaign
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Page 4 of 14 Intro - According to the company description provided to the NYSE, Under Armour Inc. hereinafter also referred to as UA, is engaged in designing, development, marketing and distribution of technologically advanced, branded performance products for men, women and youth. The Beginning- Founded in 1995 by Kevin A. Plank a passionate football player and then special team captain of special teams at University of Maryland, Under Armour started its production as a niche player providing men’s hi-performance apparel – mostly underwear at the beginning – intended for outdoor activities in any climate conditions. Early UA products were made with recently developed materials previously adopted for wetsuits and extreme alpine equipment by very specialized brands such as French Millet and Japanese Mizuno. UA extended the purpose of such hi-performance moist-wicking materials to popular U.S. sports and workout adopting futuristic design stressing the idea of “unstoppable”, strong/muscular, willful athletes, thus positioning its brands in a very innovative fashion. According to the purpose of its products, UA used very aggressive communication strategy and mottos – such as “protect this house” or “never detected always lethal” – which sound are more like war cries than promotional messages, paying particular attention to products design and fit. Even the company name and logo recall ideals of strength, endurance and fighting spirit. In terms of identification of products’ purpose, UA sent out very simple clear messages such as ColdGear, HeatGear, Tactical Gear. The introduction of fashionable Tactical Gear significantly reinforced the fascinating power of the brand to its originally narrow target audience. Such original UA niche player, focused strategy worked remarkably well because of the perfect mix of: outstanding, highly innovative, well-manufactured, intelligently designed products, unquestionably effective communication and promotion. In terms of promotion, during the first part of its history, due to its initially limited financial resources, Under Armour carry out campaigns featuring young promising athletes and partnered with second tier, genuine college teams and athletes stressing the concept of hard work and severe condition and being part of a team. Although the visibility of the brand was limited by company’s inability to recur to mass media, its first promotional strategy complemented by a genuine grounding with a grown set of local sport institutions, contributed to elevate UA products reputation as superior performance apparel supplier; not the ordinary