The Curry 4 was nice, and designed well enough to earn a spot in my top ten sneakers of 2017. The shoe was a fresh take on the signature line from UA’s most visible and marketable athlete. In a rough 2016 to 2017 Kevin Plank made a point of stating that UA would begin to market more. As of yet the marketing that has taken place has been primarily surface. The brand made a beautiful documentary of the Nigerian Bobsled Team, but that was niche and it wasn’t promoted at all. I may have been more excited than any one else about that project. That’s because I saw in that creation a company beginning to understand the powerful aspects of video and content creation. The problem is the company didn’t follow through with anything from the Winter Olympics. Like most UA marketing it was one shot. The company has continued to push #WEWILL and they still aren’t doing enough with #UNLIKEANY, and it seems the brand doesn’t realize that video is no longer “viral”; you have to pay for engagement. I hate “pay to play” just like UA does, but for a large brand it makes sense and does reach more eyes and the budget for YouTube is minimal. The biggest marketing I’ve seen for basketball has been via Shoot Your Shot:
Which I initially thought was a good idea until it reminded me of the fact that influencer marketing simply isn’t the way to go for UA or for almost any brand. I wrote an extensive post about this which you should really take the time to click through and read. If you aren’t interested in diving into that hole, then here is the short of it, UA doesn’t utilize its athletes or build narratives using its own platforms. This is more profound because yesterday my partner at Housakicks delivered an article on the impending release of the Curry 5. I initially was going to write and and analyze the number of Curry ankle issues this season, but realized that Curry sits out at least ten games a year due to his ankles. It’s a problem that will not get better and tends to be an issue that degrades over time like all athlete injuries as players age. I couldn’t blame the shoes for something that has more to do with flexibility and strength, not his shoes. I didn’t write that article, but I started doing a little research and I realized that Under Armour didn’t even do a promotional video like #Makethatold after last year’s NBA Championship. The company has literally sat on its hands with their most marketable athlete. They introduce a new technology in HOVR, no Curry. They introduced two new running silhouettes and did one video. Nothing eye catching or fun like the Nike Choose Go campaign. They did a few UA Run related videos, but searching their own platforms outside of social and the marketing has been minimal in every way. I wrote last year that UA let a car company run a better ad for Curry 4… it seems that the car company ran the only ad for Curry 4.
UA is experiencing a rebound right now. They have trimmed a lot of fat and they are more focused than ever on growing both domestically and internationally. I’ve even given the brand a solid grade on how 2018 will shape up for them. However, what I didn’t account for was Nike in my estimation. Nike is doing the most amazing work of any brand at this moment. Couple this with the endless stream of footwear releases and tech innovations and they are dominating the footwear industry. Under Armour doesn’t have a choice but to improve it’s marketing and the lack of promo for Curry is bothersome for me. The lack of athlete endorsement utilization is bothersome. UA only has one lane and that’s performance and no one cares that you have created a great new tech, because without marketing no one knows and using influencers won’t carry the weight needed to shift interest or inspire connection.
Not one commercial for Curry 4, but 8 videos of an influencer hosting a YouTube show promoting the basketball gear when the people and the influencer all rock Nike and adidas in their real lives. If I’m wrong about this, please send me the copy/video that is brand generated. I like organic marketing strategies, but to reach the goals the brand wants to hit, marketing is critical.