Then-upstart fitness brand Under Armour ran its debut Super Bowl spot in 2008 to introduce its first non-cleated footwear, new cross trainer sneakers that weren't yet available for pre-prder on game day. At 60 seconds long, the nearly $5 million cost of the airtime represented one-third of Under Armour's total media budget for recent years.
"I can't think of a better platform for a major launch," Steve Battista, Under Armour's VP-brand, told Ad Age at the time. "You can't deny the amount of impressions you're going to get."
"The Gathering" featured appearances by two dozen pro athletes to proclaim that "the game has changed." As with all Under Armour advertising to that point, the spot was produced internally. Battista recalled the creative process for Ad Age in a piece titled "True Confessions of a Super Bowl Ad Virgin":
We've never been much into focus groups, but the few informal gatherings we did proved beneficial. The kids loved it. Their parents scrunched their noses and said it's "too loud" and "too fast" and that they didn't get it.
... The ad ratings for the big game may not show it, but that's OK. We think you can go into the Super Bowl without slapstick humor as long as you have a mission.
Though Under Armour did not become a Super Bowl regular, its growth over subsequent years impressed. Ad Age named it Marketer of the Year in 2014.
Director: Ericson Core, director of the 2015 "Point Break" remake and cinematographer on 2001's "The Fast and the Furious." Production company: Backyard. Executive producer: Peter Steinzeig. Producer: Karen Chen.
Senior creative director: Marcus Stephens. Director-advertising: Todd Montesano. Interactive art director: Nathan Shriver. Art director: Eric Clemmer.
VFX: Asylum. Effects supervisor: John Fragomeni.Send credit info to [email protected].