After unveiling Under Armour’s “biggest-ever” ad campaign and clothing line for women yesterday, CEO Kevin Plank admitted that properly marketing to women didn’t come naturally for the brand, which has built its success on dressing muscle-bound men sweating in weight rooms and crashing on football fields.
“Shrink it and pink it doesn’t work. We learned that nine men sitting around a table can’t create products for women,” said Plank in an interview with WWD, referring to the company’s first failed attempt at a women’s line in 2003.
Taken from the brand’s iconic I Will tagline, the new campaign I Will What I Want is intended to “celebrate the inner and outer strength of women and highlights the brand’s commitment to designing elevated products for athletic females.”
The campaign features a kickass roster of trailblazing athletes including American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland, who stars in this above video. While we watch Misty show her strength, grace and beauty as she effortlessly dances, we hear a young girl’s voice reading a rejection letter she once received.
“You have the wrong body for ballet. And at 13, you are too old to be considered,” says the voice, reminding us of the incredible challenges and personal triumphs so many women face and overcome, professional athlete or not.
In addition to Misty, other athletes featured in the campaign include world champion downhill skier Lindsey Vonn, US Women’s National Soccer Team Kelley O’Hara, professional tennis player Sloane Stephens, and pro surfer Brianna Cope. We encourage you to watch all of the videos, the inspiration is palpable.
In the company press release, SVP and Creative Director Leanne Fremar says, “Our new campaign connects the brand to the breadth of women’s athletic experiences and recognizes that their individual stories are central to the conversation.”
To develop the conversation and bring more women “into the fold”, the brand is also launching a “digital experience,” which will serve as a community for women to track, analyze, and share their fitness and athletic lifestyle.
The female athletic apparel market is a competitive one. Whether or not the brand’s new line for women is actually well designed, functional and affordable still remains to be seen, but in the meantime, we are inspired… and not just by the pure awesomeness of these female athletes, although that’s reason enough.
But, we are also inspired that brands, even though they are trying to sell us stuff, are listening and celebrating women and their accomplishments.