Under Armour Unveils Anthem to Kick Off Its Biggest Global Ad Push

What Would You Get If You Crossed a Nike Ad Mixed With An IBM Spot?

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Ten years ago Under Armour put out its battle cry to "protect this house." Now Founder and CEO Kevin Plank says the brand is ready to begin the next chapter of its growth with its biggest advertising campaign to date, and first truly global effort, dubbed "I will."

The campaign, launching Saturday, represents a major investment for the brand, though Steve Battista, Under Armour's senior VP-brand creative, declined to provide specifics. Mr. Battista did say 2013 spending will be up about 20% over a year ago, given the brand's sales growth. The brand spent about $12 million on measured media in the first three quarters of 2012, according to Kantar Media.

The TV spot will break during coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend and highlights Under Armour's commitment to technology. It features the brand's new Armour39 digital performance monitor, which tracks heart rate, calories and intensity, giving athletes a "Willpower" score for each workout. And the closing shots of the spot show a woman, clad in a futuristic, gray body suit. With the swipe of a finger on the virtual screen on her sleeve she changes the color of the suit and sets the temperature. "The next great athletic innovation isn't available yet, but it's being built at Under Armour right now," a voiceover says.

"It's been 10 years since we've had an anthem," Mr. Battista said, calling "I Will" a blend of "innovation and inspiration, more grown up, more focused on actual product." He also noted that the new campaign is friendlier to females than previous attempts at "dual-gender" campaigns.

The TV spot features three male athletes: boxer Canelo Alvarez, basketball player Kemba Walker and baseball player Bryce Harper, along with one female athlete, tennis player Sloane Stephens. The campaign also includes digital and out of home.

Under Armour largely handles its creative in house, though it worked with director Andre Stringer and production house Reset on the "I will" creative. Optimum Sports handles media, while Catalyst handles public relations. Firstborn works on digital for the brand.

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