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JWI518 Strayer University Celebrities & Marketing Campaigns Case Study Paper

Read the short case study in this week’s materials, “Under Armour’s Willful Digital Moves.” Then discuss this case by responding to the prompts below:What was the goal of Under Armour’s “I Will What I Want” campaign?Who was their target audience for the campaign? Why did they select this customer group?Why did the company select Misty Copeland and Gisele Bundchen to represent their brand?Do you think it is a good idea to use celebrities in marketing campaigns? Why or why not

UV7147
Rev. Jul. 27, 2016
Under Armour’s Willful Digital Moves
Created in 1996, Under Armour, which first created breathable, wicking materials to replace sweaty
cotton found in the shirts worn under football pads, was a brand built on a tough-guy and football image. In
less than two decades, founder Kevin Plank took Under Armour from a business run out of his
grandmother’s basement in Washington, DC, to a global business with just less than $4 billion in sales. By
2013, Under Armour had expanded to shorts, shoes, and even hats, and was already a success within the
men’s athletic-wear market, competing with powerhouses such as Nike and Adidas. Its marketing and
advertisement had focused on targeting men by delivering technical apparel positioned as innovative and
modern. In 2013, Under Armour had $2.3 billion in sales yet only $500 million came from its women’s
apparel.1 Plank was ready to expand into the female market segment.
“I Will What I Want” Campaign
In March 2013, Under Armour’s rival, Adidas, ranked number two in the U.S. sportswear market, one
spot in front of Under Armour, launched the “Unite All Originals” campaign targeting women using original
artists popular on social media.2 The ad campaign garnered only 400,000 views on YouTube, did not help
boost Adidas’s sales, and was considered a failure.3 Despite Adidas’s lack of success in targeting female
athletes, in 2014 Plank and his team believed they could do better and decided to take the risk of targeting
women with a campaign titled “I Will What I Want.”
At $15 million, “I Will What I Want” was the largest global women’s marketing campaign Under Armour
had ever run. Plank and his team launched the campaign on a multichannel platform, with social media at its
core.4 Debuting in July 2014, the “I Will What I Want” campaign first featured American Ballet Theatre
ballerina soloist Misty Copeland dancing as a voice-over reminisced how she was rejected from a top ballet
academy at the age of 13 for having the “wrong body for ballet.”5 Copeland disproved the sentiment by
beautifully and powerfully dancing for the remainder of the advertisement. Copeland’s ad was created for
1 Sapna Maheshwari, “Why Under Armour Made That Mesmerizing Ad with Ballerina Misty Copeland,” BuzzFeed News, July 31, 2014,
http://www.buzzfeed.com/sapna/under-armours-powerful-new-misty-copeland-ad-kicks-off-recor#.ookjnO1r9 (accessed May 2, 2016).
2 Anna Rudenko, “Adidas Launches the ‘All In for #My Girls’ Global Campaign,” Popsop, March 14, 2013, http://popsop.com/2013/03/adidaslaunches-the-all-in-for-my-girls-global-campaign/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
3
“Under
Armour:
I
Will
What
I
Want,
and
Why
It
Works,”
Clapp
Communications,
http://www.clappcommunications.com/company/blog/under-armour-i-will-what-i-want-and-why-it-works/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
4 “I Will What I Want,” Facebook-Studio, https://www.facebook-studio.com/gallery/submission/i-will-what-i-want (accessed May 2, 2016).
5
E. J. Schultz, “Ad Age’s 2014 Marketer of the Year: Under Armour,” AdvertisingAge, December 8, 2014,
http://adage.com/article/news/marketer-year-armour/296088/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
This public-sourced case was prepared by Mina Saghian (MBA ’16) and Meghan Murray, Adjunct Lecturer. It was written as a basis for class discussion
rather than to illustrate effective or ineffective handling of an administrative situation. Copyright © 2016 by the University of Virginia Darden School
Foundation, Charlottesville, VA. All rights reserved. To order copies, send an e-mail to sales@dardenbusinesspublishing.com. No part of this publication may be
reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, used in a spreadsheet, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without
the permission of the Darden School Foundation.
This document is authorized for use only by Eric smith in Marketing in a Global Environm at Strayer University, 2019.
Page 2
UV7147
television, print, and the digital space and proved successful in all three.6 The YouTube ad went viral with
4 million views in the first week.7
Following the success of Copeland’s ad, Leanne Fremar, senior VP and creative director of women’s
business, thought it was a good time to release the second phase of the campaign featuring supermodel Gisele
Bündchen. Wanting to integrate a stronger web presence to the campaign, Fremar said, “Internally, there was
a lot of discussion around creating something that really was going to live in the digital and social sphere and
not be a traditional television spot or follow the playbook for a traditional sports campaign.”8 The unexpected
partnership between Bündchen and Under Armour resulted in a lot of social media backlash, which Under
Armour used to its advantage.9 The ad experience integrated real-time social commentary from both fans and
haters of Bündchen in response to her signing with Under Armour as she concentrated on a grueling boxing
session and ignored the commentary displayed on the walls.10 Negative comments, such as “Gisele is just a
model,” poured in along with positive remarks such as, “Bravo! Gisele can do anything.”
Fremar stated that the overall goal of the campaign was to celebrate women “who had the physical and
mental strength to tune out the external pressures and turn inward and chart their own course.”11 This goal
was clearly and succinctly conveyed through the unorthodox athletes chosen by Under Armour and the
message clearly resonated with audiences, who spent an average of four minutes on the site during the
campaign’s peak.12
Success of Appealing to Female Customers
The “I Will What I Want” campaign’s success surpassed what Plank had imagined. It produced 5 billion
media impressions worldwide and a staggering $35 million in earned media.13 Adrienne Lofton, senior vice
president of global brand marketing at Under Armour, stated, “I Will What I Want was the highest earned
impressions campaign we’d ever done, with more than 3 billion earned impressions. It was definitely a sign to
everyone here that women can definitely be the category that sets the standard for the rest of the brand.”14
The campaign resulted in a 28% increase in women’s sales and a 42% increase in traffic to UA.com.15
Targeting the female market with this viral campaign proved to be a winning strategy for Under Armour.
6
“Misty Copeland – I Will What I Want,” YouTube video, 1:00, posted by “Under Armour,” July 30, 2014,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY0cdXr_1MA (accessed May 2, 2016).
7 Eliana Dockterman, “Under Armour’s Stunning Ballerina Ad Aims to Lure Women from Lululemon,” Time, August 5, 2014,
http://time.com/3083114/misty-copeland-under-armour-i-will-what-i-want/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
8 Minda Smiley, “Anatomy of an Ad: Under Armour and Droga5 on Creating the ‘Very Unpolished’ Gisele Bündchen Film,” The Drum, July 27,
2015, http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/07/27/anatomy-ad-under-armour-and-droga5-creating-very-unpolished-gisele-b-ndchen-film (accessed
May 2, 2016).
9 “Under Armour Unveils Newest Chapter of I WILL WHAT I WANT™ Campaign Featuring Gisele Bündchen,” Under Armour press release,
September 4, 2014, http://www.uabiz.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=869180 (accessed May 2, 2016).
10 “Under Armour: Will Beats Noise,” Droga5, http://droga5.com/work/will-beats-noise/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
11 http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/07/27/anatomy-ad-under-armour-and-droga5-creating-very-unpolished-gisele-b-ndchen-film.
12
“Droga5’s Gisele Campaign for Under Armour Scores the Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes,” AdWeek, June 14, 2015,
http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/droga5s-gisele-campaign-under-armour-scores-cyber-grand-prix-cannes-165541 (accessed May
2, 2016).
13 https://www.facebook-studio.com/gallery/submission/i-will-what-i-want.
14 Jeff Beer, “How Under Armour Uses a Scrappy Outsider Will to Get What It Wants,” August 31, 2015, Fast Company,
http://www.fastcocreate.com/3050420/behind-the-brand/how-under-armour-uses-a-scrappy-outsider-will-to-get-what-it-wants (accessed May 2,
2016).
15 http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/droga5s-gisele-campaign-under-armour-scores-cyber-grand-prix-cannes-165541.
This document is authorized for use only by Eric smith in Marketing in a Global Environm at Strayer University, 2019.
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Competitive Landscape
Following the success of the “I Will What I Want” campaign, Under Armour surpassed Adidas and
moved from the number-three spot in the U.S. sportswear market to the number-two spot.16 This was a
significant accomplishment for a company only 20 years old and represented just the beginning of where
Plank wanted to take Under Armour. Plank’s goal was to move Under Armour to the number-one spot in
front of Nike, but because of Nike’s strong brand awareness and history, it would need to continue with
groundbreaking advertising campaigns similar to “I Will What I Want.” He had to consider what part of the
business would focus on women and how to keep viral momentum. Plank also needed to be aware of other
power players in the athletic-wear market such as lululemon athletica, which had 2014 revenues of $1.8 billion
and expected revenues of $1.97 billion in 2015.17
Sports Marketing Advertisement
Celebrity endorsements
In the United States, celebrities were present in more than 15% of advertisements. That number
increased internationally resulting in an estimated $50 billion invested globally in celebrity endorsements.18 A
celebrity’s endorsement of a brand helped build brand equity and increased brand awareness since consumers
associated the celebrity with the brand. Signing a famous name to a brand had been found to increase a
company’s sales by $10 million annually and increase the company’s stock returns by 0.25%.19 For example,
following Tiger Woods’s 1996 endorsement, Nike transformed its golf business from a $120 million business
in 1996 to a $500 million business in 2006.20
Tiger Woods was also an example of the risks of a celebrity endorsement. After his 2009 maritalinfidelities scandal, Nike lost $1.4 million in profit, 136,000 customers switched from Nike, and there were
longer-term negative effects to its brand.21 Brands needed to be cautious, because the image of the celebrity
representing their brands could change overnight.
Another aspect to consider was if the price of a celebrity endorsement was worth it. Companies signed
celebrities to multi-million-dollar deals expecting a larger return on their investment. Brands such as Dove,
however, embraced the everyday person in their advertisements instead of the hit movie star or basketball star
of the moment and saved millions of dollars on endorsement deals. By celebrating the natural beauty of the
everyday woman instead of publicizing a celebrity with a picture-perfect body, Dove increased sales and
brand awareness.22
16
Sara Germano, “Under Armour Overtakes Adidas in U.S. Sportswear Market,” Wall Street Journal, January 8, 2015,
http://www.wsj.com/articles/under-armour-overtakes-adidas-in-u-s-sportswear-market-1420753934 (accessed May 2, 2016).
17
Brent A. Miller, “Lululemon: Double Digit Revenue Growth Expected in 2015,” Seeking Alpha, March 29, 2015,
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3036186-lululemon-double-digit-revenue-growth-expected-in-2015 (accessed May 2, 2016).
18 Dean Crutchfield, “Celebrity Endorsements Still Push Product,” AdvertisingAge, September 22, 2010, http://adage.com/article/cmostrategy/marketing-celebrity-endorsements-push-product/146023/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
19
Douglas Karr, “Are Celebrity Endorsements a Viable Marketing Option?,” Marketing Tech (blog), May 6, 2015,
https://www.marketingtechblog.com/celebrity-endorsements/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
20 Kevin YC Chung, Timothy Derdenger, and Kannan Srinivasan, “Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements: Tiger Woods’ Impact on Sales of
Nike Golf Balls,” September 12, 2011, http://www.econ.ucla.edu/workshops/papers/io/celebrityendorsements.pdf (accessed May 2, 2016).
21 Francesca Di Meglio, “Use Real People or Celebrities in Your Advertising Campaign?,” Monster, http://www.monster.com/careeradvice/article/real-people-or-celebrities-in-ads (accessed May 2, 2016).
22 Jennifer Flagg, “What We Can Learn from Dove’s Marketing Strategies,” Mechtronics, August 23, 2013, http://www.mechtron.com/blog/whatwe-can-learn-from-doves-marketing-strategies/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
This document is authorized for use only by Eric smith in Marketing in a Global Environm at Strayer University, 2019.
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Word-of-mouth and viral marketing
Word-of-mouth and viral marketing had gained a lot of attention from companies that wanted to save
money on their advertising and marketing budgets and have a greater impact on their consumers. Consumers’
increased social connectivity was rapidly making marketing easier for companies by sharing, posting, and
reposting videos until they become viral.23 For example, Volvo’s Epic Split video was shared more than
8 million times across social networks, making it one of the most-shared YouTube clips.24 A big reason wordof-mouth and viral marketing were so successful was that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from
friends and family over other forms of marketing and advertisement.25 In 2014, Nike spent about $3 billion
on “demand creation,” its terminology for marketing and advertising, and that number was expected to
grow.26 Of that amount, about $56.4 million was spent on television advertisements through the end of June
2014.27 As Nike’s demand-creation expenses increased, so did its revenues—in 2014, it earned $27.8 billion in
revenue compared to the $3 billion spent on demand creation. Although their budgets were not as large as
Nike’s, Adidas and Under Armour had marketing expenses of approximately $1.8 billion and $333 million,
respectively, and revenues of approximately $4.1 billion and $3 billion.28
Video advertisements went viral when they triggered a strong emotional response. Celebrities had not
been proven to influence online video advertisement sharing.29 Of the 100 most-shared video advertisements,
only 13% had celebrities in them. There was a risk, however, in focusing on the viral nature of a video ad.
Consumers tended to forget what brand the advertisement was associated with.30 For example, only 7% of
viewers could remember what brand was associated with the 2014 Chrysler Super Bowl advertisement
featuring Bob Dylan.30 A viral video advertisement that elicited a strong emotional response did not
necessarily help consumers recall the brand.
Fitness market in the United States
By 2013, more than 45 million Americans belonged to a gym or fitness club and more than 25 million
exercised at home.31 In 2014, more than 54 million Americans paid for gym memberships, and the average
member visited his or her club more than 100 times.32 Niche gym memberships, wearable fitness trackers,
23
Kimberly A. Whitler, “Why Word of Mouth Marketing is the Most Important Social Media,” Forbes, July 17, 2014,
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-social-media/2/#3d50c5454a95
(accessed May 2, 2016).
24 Meg Carter, “How Volvo Trucks Pulled Off an Epic Split and a Game-Changing Campaign,” Fast Company, June 18, 2014,
http://www.fastcocreate.com/3031654/cannes/how-volvo-trucks-pulled-off-an-epic-split-and-a-game-changing-campaign (accessed May 11, 2015).
25
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kimberlywhitler/2014/07/17/why-word-of-mouth-marketing-is-the-most-important-socialmedia/#c034ce57a77c.
26
Pete Forester, “You Won’t Believe How Much Nike Spends on ‘Demand Creation’,” Complex, July 26, 2014,
http://www.complex.com/sneakers/2014/07/nike-spends-3b-on-demand-creation, (accessed May 11, 2016).
27 Nathalie Tadena, “Nike Dominates Shoe Sector’s TV Ad Spending,” July 10, 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2014/07/10/nike-dominatesshoe-sectors-tv-ad-spending/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
28 Nunez Enterprises, “Nike’s Demand Creation Expense: A Slam Dunk for The Company’s Bottom Line,” Seeking Alpha, December 31, 2015,
http://seekingalpha.com/article/3784346-nikes-demand-creation-expense-slam-dunk-companys-bottom-line?page=2 (accessed May 2, 2016); “Under
Armour Reports Full Year Net Revenues Growth of 32%; Announces Creation of World’s Largest Digital Health and Fitness Community,” Under
Armour press release, February 4, 2015, http://investor.underarmour.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=894686 (accessed May 2, 2016); and “Adidas
Group Full Year 2014 Results,” Adidas Group press release, March 5, 2015, http://www.adidas-group.com/en/media/news-archive/pressreleases/2015/adidas-group-full-year-2014-results/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
29 Ayaz Nanji, “What Makes an Ad Go Viral Online?,” MarketingProfs, May 27, 2014, http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2014/25217/whatmakes-an-ad-go-viral-online (accessed May 2, 2016).
30 “Fitness Industry Analysis 2016 – Costs & Trends,” Franchise Help, Gallup, https://www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/fitness-industryreport/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
31 Sandra Faleris, “The Exercise Market Going Strong,” Examiner, September 3, 2013, http://www.examiner.com/article/the-exercise-marketgoing-strong (accessed May 2, 2016); “Number of Participants in Home Gym Exercise in the United States from 2006 to 2013 (in Millions),” Statista,
http://www.statista.com/statistics/191614/participants-in-home-gym-exercise-in-the-us-since-2006/ (accessed May 2, 2016).
32 https://www.franchisehelp.com/industry-reports/fitness-industry-report/.
This document is authorized for use only by Eric smith in Marketing in a Global Environm at Strayer University, 2019.
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and mobile applications supporting high-intensity interval training grew steadily through 2014 and 2015.33 In
addition, 58.4% of males and 52.7% of females exercised for at least 30 minutes three or more days per
week.34 By 2014, the U.S. women’s nutrition market was more than $125 billion. Health, fitness, and weight
loss was a $277 billion industry.35 Globally, the health club industry was more than $78 billion in 2014, and it
grew annually by 2.2% between 2010 and 2015.36 Worldwide sports apparel and footwear sales grew by 8%
per year from 2013 to 2015, compared to 2% to 3% for general apparel.37 The United States accounted for
36% of those sales; this $97 billion industry was driven by fitness and wellness but also “athleisure” wear such
as running shoes for nonrunners and yoga pants worn all day.38 As a result, specialty-apparel manufacturers
began to target specific activities, from Pilates to rock climbing, and allowed companies such as Athleta
(owned by Gap) and lululemon athletica to enter the market in unique niches.39 Women’s apparel specifically
grew 10% between 2014 and 2015.40 The worldwide apparel market was estimated to grow to $184 billion by
2020.41
Next Campaign?
The “I Will What I Want” campaign took women’s apparel to 30% of Under Armour’s sales, making
Under Armour significantly more competitive with lululemon and Nike.42 The question for Plank was, what’s
next? He wondered if Under Armour should continue targeting and growing the female market segment. Or,
should the company target a broader population to gain more traction on Nike and get closer to that numberone spot? The successful “I Will What I Want” campaign had gone viral , but it would be a challenge for
Under Armour to continue that momentum. Plank voiced to various media outlets that he planned to make
the company a $10 billion brand by 2020, and having successful marketing campaigns was a key part to
getting there.43 He had seen success both…

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