According to the company description provided to the NYSE, Under Armour Inc. hereinafter
also referred to as UA, is engaged in designing, development, marketing and distribution of
technologically advanced, branded performance products for men, women and youth.
- Founded in 1995 by Kevin A. Plank a passionate football player and then special team
captain of special teams at University of Maryland, Under Armour started its production as a niche player
providing men’s hi-performance apparel – mostly underwear at the beginning – intended for outdoor
activities in any climate conditions. Early UA products were made with recently developed materials
previously adopted for wetsuits and extreme alpine equipment by very specialized brands such as
French Millet and Japanese Mizuno. UA extended the purpose of such hi-performance moist-wicking
materials to popular U.S. sports and workout adopting futuristic design stressing the idea of
“unstoppable”, strong/muscular, willful athletes, thus positioning its brands in a very innovative fashion.
According to the purpose of its products, UA used very aggressive communication strategy and mottos
– such as “protect this house” or “never detected always lethal” – which sound are more like war cries
than promotional messages, paying particular attention to products design and fit. Even the company
name and logo recall ideals of strength, endurance and fighting spirit. In terms of identification of
products’ purpose, UA sent out very simple clear messages such as ColdGear, HeatGear, Tactical Gear.
The introduction of fashionable Tactical Gear significantly reinforced the fascinating power of the brand
to its originally narrow target audience. Such original UA
niche player, focused strategy
remarkably well because of the perfect mix of: outstanding, highly innovative, well-manufactured,
intelligently designed products, unquestionably effective communication and promotion. In terms of
promotion, during the first part of its history, due to its initially limited financial resources, Under Armour
carry out campaigns featuring young promising athletes and partnered with second tier, genuine college
teams and athletes stressing the concept of hard work and severe condition and being part of a team.
Although the visibility of the brand was limited by company’s inability to recur to mass media, its first
promotional strategy complemented by a genuine grounding with a grown set of local sport institutions,
contributed to elevate UA products reputation as superior performance apparel supplier; not the ordinary