Under Armour and The Rock share stories of athletic perseverance
- Under Armour debuted a campaign, "Will Finds a Way," starring Dwayne Johnson and featuring the stories of eight trailblazing athletes, a news release announced. The effort, which the brand said has "hundreds of pieces" of digital and social media content, was created with Droga5.
- In the launch film, Johnson introduces each of the athletes and highlights how they have willed themselves to greatness by overcoming obstacles. The spot shows snippets of the athletes in action, as well as actors playing some of them in dramatized roles at other stages of life. Johnson shares his own story of being the hardest worker in the room and how he overcame the odds after his dream of playing professional football was crushed and he had only $7 in his pocket at a particular low point.
- The campaign features shorts for each athlete, including world champion sprinter Natasha Hastings; Olympic swimmer Yusra Mardini; NBA point guard Dennis Smith Jr.; actress and taekwondo national champion Zoe Zhang; world champion judoka Teddy Riner; stuntwoman Jessie Graff; triathlete Johnny Agar and state boxing and gymnastics champion Javon "Wanna" Walton. Fans can follow the conversation using the hashtag #WillFindsAWay on Twitter and Instagram.
Putting Johnson at the center of Will Finds a Way might draw a surge of interest for Under Armour, as the actor and former professional wrestler is coming off the success of his recently-released movie "Rampage" and is currently seen as one of Hollywood's biggest box office draws. Johnson has repped the athletic apparel brand in the past, but the new campaign adds on a number of trendy marketing tactics to complement his considerable star wattage, including a series of YouTube short films that focus on narrative storytelling.
Despite high-profile partnerships with other stars like the NBA's Stephen Curry and the ballet dancer Misty Copeland, Under Armour has faced mounting criticisms for struggling to define its identity, which analysts say has led to a disconnect with consumers, per Ad Age. The brand has focused on fitness by creating a workout-wear subscription box and acquiring diet and exercise tracking app MyFitnessPal, for example, but the message may not be coming across in its marketing. As part of a strategy shift, former CMO Andrew Donkin also left the company in November after only 15 months on the job.
Under Armour's situation isn't helped by being in a heavily competitive category that includes companies like Nike and Adidas. For 2017, Under Armour reported a 3% increase in revenue over 2016, according to Bloomberg. Its sales in North America, its biggest market, dropped 5% over the previous year. The brand is expecting similar numbers for 2018.
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