‘Under Armour’ which is an American sports apparel and accessories company has an annual revenue of $1 billion for its men’s products and exactly half i.e. $ 500 million for its’ women’s apparel. The company has long contended that its goal is for the women’s segment to grow as big as, if not bigger than, the men’s.
A mighty $15 million is what they have invested in this new campaign, their biggest ever, specifically targeted to women, in hopes of achieving that goal.
The first TV spot, of the series, ballerina Misty Copeland stands in the practice studio, slowly rising onto her toes. The muscles in her calves as angular as bent elbows are purposefully highlighted at this point.
“Thank you for your application to our ballet academy,” says a voice-over, “Unfortunately you have not been accepted. You lack the right feet, Achilles tendons, turnout, torso length and bust. You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered.”
She is then shown flying with grand jete leaps and rapid-fire spins across a vast lighted stage as if breaking into a grand performance. Only later is it revealed that Copeland, who at this point is looking triumphantly into the camera, is a well-established professional ballet dancer.
Copeland is seen sporting off a black Under Armour tank top and the brand’s “Cheeky” underwear bottoms throughout the ad as opposed to the standard leotard and tutu.
An end card introduces a new tagline for the campaign, “I will what I want” — an elongation of a long-running slogan for the brand, “I will” — and the name of a new website for female consumers, http://iwillwhatiwant.com/
The question here is, why is the brand that always features conventional athletes making an ad with a ballerina?
The reason is simple.
Even though she’s not a competitive athlete, she brings a modern athleticism to a very traditional art form. She pushes the boundaries on the status quo of the word ‘athlete’. There are a lot of sports, activities, hobbies and passions that women are engaging in that are athletic and physical and should be celebrated, whether it’s dance or soccer or kickboxing or spinning. This approach makes the targeting exclusive to women.
Intelligent move on their part considering that women have a broader sense of what constitutes an athletic activity.
The others involved in the series are: Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, the tennis player Sloane Stephens and the soccer player Kelley O’Hara.
A very similar ad was the launching spot for Clean & Clear USA’s new global campaign ‘See The Real Me’ a while back where they featured a 13-year-old aspiring ballerina, Emma, who also struggled with having a body type and corkscrew curls that were not in the traditional mold. This ad bears a striking resemblance to that one.