By Malay Desai
From: New York, by Droga5
American sports clothing and accessories brand Under Armour has launched a new campaign featuring three of America’s top athletes – ballet dancer Misty Copeland, NBA’s most valuable player Steph Curry and golf champion Jordan Spieth. The film features the three people beginning to practice and train, and gradually goes on to show their clones forming an army behind and around them. The intercuts, set to a military-like ‘1-2-3-4’ soundtrack, eventually feature thousands of their clones, before they merge back into the original player. ‘You are the sum of all your training’, the copy reads. UA has taken this forward on digital media using the hashtag #RuleYourself.
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I have barely featured a Nike commercial in this space, mostly because you would see the outstanding ones going viral anyway and there haven’t really been any mediocre ones. Nike’s campaigns have long been a standard in footwear and accessory advertising, but here’s a competitor, for its US market for now, that’s begun a brand new fight. Under Armour is a brand you might not have heard of unless you follow American sports, so to put into perspective, it is about eight times smaller than Nike. In a campaign that marks the classic fight of the underdog, the ‘Rule Yourself’ project is one of its biggest yet. In many ways, it has chosen to feature underdogs too – its brand ambassadors being young stars who have recently risen to fame. Or in cricket terms, the Ajinkya Rahanes.
We get the hint that the film is essentially meant for an American audience when we see an NBA star, the principal dancer of American Ballet Theatre and a golfer taking centre stage. The three, having been in the news for their dogged performances, make for gritty faces of the campaign, which is a step up from just the ballerina who featured in UA’s ad last.
The film and campaign try hard to break the ‘wannabe Nike’ mould, put forth a new thought of ‘training’ and ‘practice’ as opposed to the market leader’s ideas of winning and excellence. We are not talking of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordans any more, we are talking of athletes who still have a decade or so of a fight in them, and are currently relentless in training. The clone CG treatment and sound design add much value before a simple concept builds up and explodes – that every athlete is the sum of his or her hours of training.
Training apparel, obviously, makes up for over half of the brand’s total business. Coupled with an aggressive digital campaign is a roadshow that’s winding up in Japan as you read this, and the brand may well look at ROI with a bang. To compete with champions, after all, it takes tons of training. Well played, UA.
(To watch this film,feed this link in your browser - bit.ly/ViewTubeSep7)
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