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Under Armour Has Been Hitting More than Missing Lately 

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The “More Rings” Championship Pack drops Tuesday at 10AM EST.

I hate the “What are those?” pointing and laughing that happens with stupid sneakerheads. When UA dropped the Curry Lows that were labeled “Dad” shoes, and joked on by Jimmy Kimmel and the entire internet, honestly it didn’t make any damn sense.

What did make sense was if someone was knocking Under Armour for the lack of marketing of Curry and the overinvestment into tech and fitness apps. Which is what I did. I doubled down on my research of UA and stated that they were shooting themselves in the foot. A search of Under Armour marketing on this site will garner countless stories. One of my biggest problems with the brand recently was the lack of promo on the Steph Curry 4. After introducing the shoe to the world during a serious championship run the brand appeared to be sitting on their hands. They toured Asia with Curry and they have yet to produce any campaign materials for the shoe.

I thought this was a mistake. In a media hungry world “out of sight, is out of mind.”

I WAS WRONG.

Let me explain why I was wrong. Under Armour was already out of sight and out of mind. The brand had seen decreased orders at retail. The Curry 2.5, 3 and 3Zero flopped at Foot Locker leading to the CEO of the retail outlet to leave the brand out of discussions during Q3 and Q4 reports last year. Newspaper articles were and are reporting that Under Armour is dead to teens. Popular analysts and sneaker guys were calling for a change of the logo.

I knew all of this and I wanted better marketing. In other words my call for marketing was saying that Under Armour had made mistakes and they all stemmed from a lack of focus on using its athletes. Then #UnlikeAny dropped. The women’s campaign should have let me know that the brand had a hold on what they were doing. It didn’t. I screamed, “Do the same with all of the athletes.” I didn’t want the #IWILL #WEWILL campaign… I wanted a concentration on the underdog athletes on the roster. I still want that, but I was wrong. Under Armour’s absence and mistreatment was a U.S. issue. Why spend time trying to attract a market that doesn’t care about footwear diversity or performance?

The brand launched the Curry 4 in China. The dopest shoe in the history of the brand wasn’t launched in the US and it made sense:

Why the Curry 4 Is Releasing In Asia First: 2017 Curry Asia Tour

This introduction in China drove the US sneaker sites crazy and the hype around the shoe was ignited. Under Armour had used one of the best marketing tactics in the world, “Ignore the girl, to get the girl.” What is even more important from a business aspect they controlled the release of the shoe. They didn’t give it to many retail outlets. They didn’t need retail outlets. They only needed to move the focus to the international market. With a limited number of shoes coming to market the attention to the brand increases; resale spikes, the brand regains its cool element. They did the same thing with the Drive 4 Sunrise to Sunset Pack:

Under Armour Drive 4 Icon Sunrise to Sunset | Sold Out?

Once again though, it’s the business side that shows me how wrong I was. On Under Armour’s recent job listings for the international market, Mexico for example, they used this video and in the job description they placed DTC into the title: DIRECTOR, STORES & ECOMMERCE (DTC) – MEXICO

In this promotion for acquiring new job talent to Under Armour in Mexico they use Canelo Alvarez and by default they used a strategy I had been advocating for the last year NICHE OUT. In several articles, and I’m not saying Under Armour marketing is listening to me, I stated that Under Armour should mimic Nike in going DTC. I also stated that they had the best endorsers in the world in boxing and those guys should be utilized. Since then Anthony Joshua and Canelo have shown up on the website and in social more often.

Under Armour Can Win From The “Niche-Out” Canelo Alvarez vs Julio Cesar Chavez Jr 

Wait a minute, I wasn’t wrong at all. I simply forgot about “ignoring the girl” (insert guy if you like). Next week Under Armour will do another controlled drop of the Curry 4 in a pack that I wanted to drop after the NBA Championship. The brand is picking up steam and I like it. Should there be more marketing and storytelling for the Curry 4, Drive 4, and athletes? Damn right… but Under Armour is getting it right with this slow, controlled roll out. More important, this DTC push will be the best thing to happen to their struggling footwear department.