Thursday, September 10, 2009

Selling sport: Under Armour, the Colorado Rapids, the USATT, Arena and Nike

Before I was in advertising, I worked in gyms. Over the course of six years, I worked at the towel desk, at the front desk, in membership sales, and finally as a certified personal trainer. I have a special passion for athletic marketing. And a special frustration when it goes wrong.

Like Under Armor's audacious new line, "Under Armour is Football." I saw the flagship spot during a college football game, and when the game came back on, I couldn't help but notice that both the teams had Nike logos on their jerseys. Ouch.

Or the long-running Colorado Rapids tagline, "Experience The World's Game." Apparently the team hasn't noticed that Americans give absolutely zero weight to global opinion.

Or the United States Table Tennis Association's continued insistence that the best way to increase participation is to point out that table tennis is a game that anyone can play. So they put out publications featuring elderly and disabled athletes and then wonder why young, athletic men and women don't gravitate to the sport.

What do I like? A print ad for Arena swimsuits, which I first saw on the SCAQ blog and have reposted here. You want to be a monster in your next open water race? Wear an Arena suit. Simple. Insightful. Powerful. And so cool.

And at the risk of being obvious, I like Nike. From their relationship with Oregon football to the Live Strong line to Nike+, they have defined the meaning of athletics for two generations of Americans. They're a big brand that is still relevant to the cutting edge. And that's a pretty amazing thing to pull off.


Anonymous said...

Sadly, I agree with your observations. We (Americans) are arrogant and borderline xenophobic. We want our ego's stroked. We don't want to even consider what we do is in line with the rest of the world. In fact if the rest of the world does it, screw it, we'll do something different.


AC said...

go oregon and nike!