You Can’t Just “Shrink It and Pink It”

TakeAway: Eight years ago, sportswear maker Under Armour learned that making smaller, pinker versions of its male apparel wouldn’t simply translate to women. 

Women buy because a piece fits well and promises to help keep them cooler or drier. 

Under Armour’s founder believes women’s apparel will one day surpass its men’s apparel, so learning what women wanted was key…the consumer always comes first! 

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Excerpted from New York Times, “Under Armour Wants to Dress Athletic Young Women” By Elizabeth Olson, August 31, 2010

Under Armour is aiming at the “team girl,” which Adrienne Lofton, head of Under Armour’s women’s apparel, defines as a female who is competitive and confident and who plays on high school or college sports teams, or who, after college, continues to work out regularly.  “The team girl is tough, intense and passionate, and she creates her own style.”

In 2003, Under Armour began marketing a line of women’s wear designed by women. Even so, women’s apparel represents only about 25 percent of the company’s nearly $800 million in annual revenue, and it wants more.  It is the only sports apparel sector where sales are forecast to grow, according to Marshal Cohen, an analyst for NPD Group, a market research group.  Part of that is due to the marketing of active wear as street wear.

Under Armour’s newly designed line, with compression shorts, a sports bra, shorts, footwear and other training gear, is being introduced Wednesday with a campaign called “Protect This House I Will,” which builds on the company’s successful we’ll-tough-it-out-together theme that it started for its men’s gear.  

Perhaps surprisingly, the 60-second television and digital spot anchoring the campaign features both male and female athletes — a choice, Mr. Battista said, shaped by focus-group research among high school and college women playing on sports teams.  Women wanted to see themselves on par with men – as athletes, not “female athletes.” 

For the campaign’s digital marketing, Under Armour is placing two- and three-minute segments it filmed of the three female athletes on a new Facebook site for women (which is not yet active) and on each athlete’s Web site.  The digital portion of the campaign will appear on, Facebook and other teenage-oriented outlets, video sites like Hulu and CW and the high school sports site MaxPreps.  “We have been shifting more to digital,” the company’s Vice President for Brands said. “It is now 80 or 90 percent digital. Our customers are telling us they like to receive information online and prefer to shop online.”

Edit by AMW

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