Late last year, Under Amour said it would tell more of its brand story in 2020. Two weeks into the year, and the sportswear brand is making good on that promise with a new brand campaign and rallying cry for athletes around the globe.
Like Under Armour’s other campaigns, “The Only Way Is Through” is a brand platform that showcases the endurance and determination athletes like Michael Phelps and Stephen Curry must exhibit in order to be the best in their category. It’s a similar message to what the Baltimore-based brand has pushed around going above and beyond, including a 2018 effort starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a motivator to the masses.
“Listen, you’re more than your successes, you’re more than your failures—you’re the work,” a voiceover says during a 90-second anthem spot that highlights the training montages of athletes including Phelps, Curry, Tom Brady and Kelley O’Hara.
But unlike previous campaigns that were done with creative agencies, most recently Droga5, the new work was produced entirely in-house.
“It’s back to what the brand essence really is: We used to use big, powerful, visceral messaging that would connect emotionally,” says Brian Boring, VP of global brand creative at Under Armour, noting that recent pushes have centered instead on product marketing. The new platform will be global and continue through the duration of the year.
The campaign will run on a variety of channels, including activations and city takeovers, out-of-home advertising in Baltimore, digital and TV. The anthem spot will run in 90 seconds on some broadcast networks and in shorter versions as well. The ad will also air on Fox sports streaming sites during the Super Bowl on Feb. 2.
Boring says Under Armour is still working with some agencies on a project basis.
“For this campaign, it was important to bring this in-house and harvest the soul of the brand,” he says, adding that the brand is investing in building its internal team. Under Armour’s media division worked with Digitas North America and Spark for media buying. He says that Under Armour is investing more this year in marketing than it did in 2019.
Under Armour announced the new campaign Tuesday during a two-day summit with athletes, trainers and media in Baltimore. The brand has struggled in recent years as it competes with a host of other performance-based sports brands at a time when consumers are moving toward fashion sportswear.
For its third quarter, Under Armour reported a 1 percent decline in revenue to $1.4 billion, weighed down by a 4 percent decline in North America revenue to $1 billion. Net income for the quarter rose 7 percent to $102 million compared with the year-earlier period. In November, Under Armour confirmed it was under investigation by federal agencies for its accounting practices.
Find out more about fitness and health trends at Ad Age Next: Health & Wellness, a conference taking place on Feb. 6. Tickets are selling fast!