Selected Under Armour advertising
Under Armour has emerged as one of the main challengers to sportswear's global elite of Nike, Adidas and Puma, and is currently the fast-growing in the sector. Revenues have more than doubled in three years to just under $4.0bn in 2015, and it overtook Adidas in 2014 to become the #2 sportswear brand in the US behind Nike. That lead was surrendered again in 2016 but competion with Adidas for the #2 spot remains neck-and-neck. It still generates more than 80% of revenues at home, though international sales are growing rapidly. Launched in 1996 by former athlete Kevin Plank, the company's original focus, as its name suggests, was to create weatherproof, sweatproof sports clothing to keep athletes dry and comfortable. It also now produces footwear, as well as wearables like the HealthBox fitness band, but sports apparel still generates more than 70% of revenues. The company has signed up a small but significant team of high-powered endorsement partners including actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, swimming champion Michael Phelps, ballerina Misty Copeland and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Plank remains CEO and has a majority of voting shares. Adbrands does not currently offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Who are the competitors of Under Armour? See Apparel Index for other companies
Capsule checked 6th April 2016
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Feb 2017: Hot on the heels of disappointing 4Q results, and the subsequent crash in its market value, Under Armour also came under fire from some of its athlete partners for comments made by CEO Kevin Plank that appeared to endorse President Trump, on whose America Manufacturing Council he sits. Plank told CNBC that a "pro-business president" was "a real asset to this country". Two of UA's top athletes, basketball star Stephan Curry and ballerina Misty Copeland, were quick to distance themselves. Curry told San Francisco's Mercury News "I agree with the description... if you remove the 'et' from asset" while Copeland told her Instagram followers, "I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank's recent comments" and urged him to take "public action to clearly communicate and reflect our common values". A few days later, UA clarified its stance in a formal statement. "We engage in policy, not politics.... Under Armour and Kevin Plank are for job creation and American manufacturing capability. We believe building should be focused on much needed education, transportation, technology and urban infrastructure investment. We are against a travel ban and believe that immigration is a source of strength, diversity and innovation for global companies based in America like Under Armour." A fullpage ad in the Baltimore Sun, UA's hometown newspaper, reiterated those sentiments in the form of an open letter from Plank.
Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd Feb 2017: US sportswear company Under Armour's dynamic growth streak came to a sudden halt at the end the end of 2016. For the year, Under Armour reported a 22% lift in revenues to $4.8bn, while net income was up 5% to $259m. However, 4Q revenues rose by only 12% , significantly less than investors had been expecting or indeed the company had been forecasting as recently as three months ago. Concerns were exacerbated by a similar forecast for the year ahead, and the abrupt resignation of Under Armour's CFO "for personal reasons". Until now Under Armour had delivered 26 consecutive quarters of growth of at least 20%. The shortfall prompted a crash in the company's share price, which fell by more than a quarter to levels not seen since 2009. The slowdown reflects the brutal competition in US sportswear, especially through traditional retail channels. As the FT's Lex column noted, "Of the seven significant US retail bankruptcies in 2016, two were at chains selling Under Armour gear (Sports Authority and Golfsmith). Several other retailers are teetering, battered by online competition that has contributed to a price war."
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Dec 2016: Under Armour scored its first professional league sponsorship in a 10-year partnership with Major League Baseball from 2020, supplying on-pitch and training apparel, and fan gear. The company already has endorsement partnerships with several individual MLB athletes.
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Aug 2015: Clever digital manipulation turns Droga5's new campaign for the fast-growing Under Armour sportswear brand into a real epic. Ballerina Misty Copeland, a previous star endorsement partner for the brand, returns, along with other ambassadors like golfer Jordan Spieth and the NBA's Steph Curry. Great music track too. It's always hard to cut through against big-budget rivals like Nike and Adidas, but UA is doing a fine job of keeping the big boys on their toes.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Jun 2015: Grand Prix in Cannes Lions' Cyber category was awarded to Droga5 for its "I Will What I Want" campaign, highlighting Under Armour's women's sportswear range. Interestingly, the award went specifically to the Gisele Bundchen campaign, not to the one featuring (less widely known) ballerina Misty Copeland, which actually got more media attention at the time last year.
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