Under Armour’s business may be making clothes for (sweaty) people, yet apparel was but a footnote at its splashy launch event in New York City last Friday, which felt like a female empowerment forum.
At the packed event, the activewear giant unveiled its largest campaign targeted at women ever, built around the powerful mantra “I will what I want.” The mantra, said founder Kevin Plank, is just one manifestation of the company’s new “Womanifesto.”
Bringing the campaign to life were downhill ski champion Lindsey Vonn, Olympic gold medal soccer player Kelley O’Hara, and American Ballet Theatre soloist Misty Copeland, all three of whom spoke to what the campaign meant to them personally, in a panel discussion.
Copeland, the first African American soloist at the ABT in 20 years, stole the show, as the the campaign’s first commercial, which tells the story of the many challenges she’s overcome (and shows her bad-ass dancer muscles), was played. After, she gushed about what the “I will what I want” mantra meant to her. “I feel that this campaign really just speaks to how incredibly strong we are,” she said. “We deserve the acknowledgement and respect that we can be athletes, we can be feminine, we can be mothers, we can be all of these things…”
Plank and creative director and SVP Leanne Fremar (who recently joined from Theory) also stressed that when they talked about what women were capable of, they were not just talking about professional athletes. Instead, they wanted to start a new conversation with “athletic females.”
“We were amazed by the quantity and breadth of things women were doing to stay fit—running with friends, barre class, spin class, boot camp, tennis, kickboxing, hot vinyasa, kung fu, Pilates, SUP, rock climbing, Tough Mudder, mountain biking, triathlons, half marathons, cardio sculpt, cardio dance parties…” (Hey, has she been reading Well+Good?)
“Under Armour’s first challenge is to resonate with these athletic women by giving her performance, certainly, but not at the expense of style,” Fremar added. It’s a long way from the company’s football T-shirt origins. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.iwillwhatiwant.com