Under Armour kicks off football season with new 'Protect This House' ad campaign

Under Armour kicks off football season with new 'Protect This House' ad campaign
Video cam newton under armour commercial 2019

Under Armour Inc. is making a big marketing push as football season gets underway.

Coinciding with the start of college football’s 150th season, Baltimore-based Under Armour launched a campaign celebrating the 15th anniversary of its first national TV ads that featured the “Protect This House” slogan. The highly touted commercials helped raise the profile of the then-fledgling sports apparel brand.

The latest ad does not feature former NFL defensive end Eric Ogbogu shouting the iconic phrase that became a battle cry for U.S. athletes. Ogbogu, a teammate of Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank at the University of Maryland, gained popularity because of his performance in the original ads. Instead, Under Armour’s latest spot features Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and Baltimore’s own St. Frances Academy football team.

Like its predecessors, the ads emphasize hard work, practice and teamwork. Under Armour’s in-house creative team produced the work.

“This is a reminder of how far we’ve come and the power of our squad to strive for greatness and always work to get better,” said Courtney Carlson, vice president of North America marketing.

Newton, an Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) endorser and former NFL Most Valuable Player award winner, is shown working out. He says, “Every time I come through these lines, no matter where these lines at — work.”

The St. Frances team, ranked No. 2 in the U.S. and winners of 26 consecutive games, are shown participating in rigorous workouts. One of the players tells the camera the team is the “best in the nation” because its players will “outwork everybody.”

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“This campaign is about camaraderie and uniting all young people in whatever sport that inspires them to be great,” Carlson said.

St. Frances represents one of the many schools Under Armour has partnerships with and also celebrates the brand’s hometown, Carlson said.

For Under Armour, the timing could not be better. In addition to college football, the NFL season kicked off on Sept. 5. Baseball’s postseason will begin at the end of the month and the NBA season will tip off in October.

Additional commercials throughout the fall will feature Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper, Dennis Smith Jr. of the New York Knicks and heptathlon champion Georgia Ellenwood. In addition to TV spots there will also be digital advertising content.

The timing of the campaign also matches up with start of school and youth sports and allows Under Armour to have its marketing at full strength ahead of the all-important holiday season.

“When we look at the annual calendar we think about what are the high moments of sports; this is one,” Carlson said. “What is our consumer and athlete thinking about right now? Going back to school and getting back on the field. It’s top of mind for the brand. The timing ahead of holiday season certainly doesn’t hurt us.”

Plank has spoken during the last year about the need for Under Armour to be a “quiet company and a loud brand.” He hinted to analysts during a conference call in July that Under Armour would be stepping up its marketing efforts since the company is operating at a more efficient level after going through a restructuring the last couple of years.

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“We have probably been not as loud of a brand as we expect to be and that’s one of the things that you will see begin to play out for this brand as we move forward,” Plank said.

Carlson did not disclose how much Under Armour is spending on the campaign. She said it is a “big initiative seasonally” and comprises a significant portion of the marketing budget.