Under Armour and (Effort X 1000)

Under Armour and (Effort X 1000)

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Striking images and the haunting sound of a choir counting repetitions make for an unusual and memorable ad. With this ad, Under Armour comes to mind a little more easily. Acting distinctively and getting noticed enhance mental availability. And, with this ad, Under Armour associates itself with serious exercise and commitment.

The graphic device of repeating the image hundreds, even thousands of times, was meant to illustrate the statement that “You are the sum of all your training.” The device magnifies the beauty in each repetition, but the graphic device doesn’t say you are the sum of your training. Misty Copeland, Steph Curry, or Jordan Spieth do what they do with perfection. The graphic device repeats the action with no flaw, no improvement, no possibility of failure. Viewers do not see the effort that went into the perfection, just a graphic trick that repeats that perfection over and over again.

The three stars silently endorse Under Armour. Celebrity endorsements depend on how people feel about the celebrity, the strength of the connection between the celebrity and the brand, and the meaning of the connection. The meaning of the connection is what the connection tells people about the brand.

Under Armour has corralled three celebrities at their peak. Though all viewers may not recognize all three, devotees of dance know and are impressed with a Copeland endorsement, likewise with fans of basketball and Curry, as well as golfers and Spieth. The brand name and logo are much in evidence, building the strength of the connection between the celebrities and Under Armour. But the meaning that Under Armour was hoping to impart to the connection falls a bit short.

Under Armour wanted to associate the brand with the relentless, repetitive training and commitment that lies behind the performance of these stars. While the words on the screen at the end of the ad say what the brand intends, the visuals say something else. People will pay attention to the visuals that take up the bulk of the ad and ignore the words on the screen.

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