Case Study: Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want”
Most consumers viewed Under Armour as a brand built for men before 2014.
Despite that, the company had been incredibly successful raking in $2.3 billion in sales in 2013. However, their product line for women only accounted for $500 million.
To address this, they launched a Total Market campaign targeting women, “I Will What I Want.” It features several female athletes of diverse cultural backgrounds, who speak to the hurdles they had to overcome to reach success.
- Run a strong influencer campaign highlighting women who persevered hardships, and who now empower other females through their stories
- Convince women that Under Armour is durable and trendy
- Drive sales and build brand equity among women
- Surpass Adidas to become the second-largest domestic sportswear brand
“I Will What I Want” recognizes that it’s difficult to be a female athlete. The campaign seeks to empower and celebrate athletic women. So under Armour partnered with six women: ballerina Misty Copeland, model Gisele Bundchen, skiiers Sloane Stephens and Lindsey Vonn, surfer Brianna Cope, soccer player Kelley O’Hara, runner Natasha Hastings, and trainer Natalie Uhling. They all share a love for sports and persevered despite criticism.
Misty Copeland, for example, is the first African-American principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre. Growing up, she was often told that she didn’t have the right body type or skin color for ballet. Featuring strong female athletes like Copeland helped Under Armour convey the message of drive and perseverance.
They leveraged each story to run an effective influencer campaign. The women in the videos inspire their athletic female fan base to follow their dreams regardless of how many people shut them down. Under Armour created a microsite with brief biographies, and they also posted videos to their YouTube channel.
Some ads were also promoted on digital channels and TV, always with the hashtag #IWillWhatIWant.
“I Will What I Want” was a success, and a few spots went viral. The one featuring Copeland racked up over 10 million views on YouTube and Bundchen’s spot drove significant earned media. Following the campaign, the company’s sales reached $3 billion, and they surpassed Adidas to become the second largest domestic sportswear brand.
This campaign effectively made a macho brand relevant to women. It’s authentic, interesting, and relatable. It engaged with four of our Stretch Strategies,execution strategies to activate across the Cultural Continuum. Here’s a preview of two:
- Extend the Invitation: Under Armour recognized that their brand wasn’t as appealing to women. By running a campaign that specifically empowered women to be athletic, they made female consumers feel more comfortable engaging with the brand.
- Find and Activate Cultural Influencers: This is a great example of influencer marketing. They effectively featuring athletic women who were successful and portrayed stories that female consumers could relate to. The videos felt authentic because the women opened up publicly about criticisms they faced.
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