Under Armour's New Prototype: A Marketing 50 Case Study

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Anybody with $6 million to spare can buy a 60-second Super Bowl spot for a product they're selling, but to allocate a significant amount of your ad budget to the bowl for a product that's months away from shelves? That takes guts.

Under Armour did exactly that in 2008 with the launch of the New Prototype cross-trainer shoe, its first foray into noncleated footwear.

The gambit by Under Armour and Senior VP-Brand Steve Battista wound up working pretty well. The spot -- created in-house and featuring its typical dark and intense style -- hyped the shoe, and Under Armour spent the next three months marking the minutes with countdown clocks at retail and online, where consumers could preorder the New Prototype.

Analysts hailed the launch as successful, and the New Prototype outperformed Nike's new cross-trainer line, which was backed with a hefty campaign of its own (with a tagline "My better is better than your better," which many observers took for trash talk).

"There's no doubt Under Armour's launch was more successful" than Nike's, says Matt Powell, an analyst with SportsOneSource.

"When we speak, we speak loudly," Mr. Battista says.
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