Misty Copeland is a soloist for the American Ballet Company but seemingly her destiny was not to be a ballerina.
Yet, according to her and to Under Armour’s new ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign, ‘Will Trumps Fate’.
Indeed, the campaign’s spearhead, Copeland-fronted 60-second spot, along with its multi-channel supporting strands, is single-handedly turning the word ‘ballerina’ into a sporting term.
While director Johnny Green focuses the commercial’s visuals on Copeland’s power, grace and muscular physique, her voiceover recalls early hurdles in her career – such as when, at the age of 13, she was rejected from a top school for being too old and not having the right kind of body for ballet.
The ad was released in conjunction with a new website which celebrates the will to find inner strength and to follow no one.”
It aims to prove significant for several reasons – including for marking a major marketing shift for a brand whose image has been traditionally masculine.
The wider TV, print and digital campaign is based around a web hub at http://www.IWILLWHATIWANT.com
After winning the creative brief for Under Armour’s women’s products last autumn, this is Droga5’s debut work for the brand.
David Droga, founder and creative chairman of Droga5, said the rejection notice recited in the spot is not an actual letter, but rather a compilation of negative feedback that Copeland overcame.
‘It wasn’t creative license to create fake hurdles. These are all things that were said to her.’
The TVC spearheads an umbrella campaign called ‘I Will What I Want’ – an empowering movement that highlights female athletes’ drive to reach their goals despite various obstacles throughout their careers.
The campaign also features top athletes such as skier Lindsey Vonne, US Women’s National Soccer Team Player Kelley O’Hara, pro tennis player Sloane Stephens
and model Gisell Bundchen
The stars are all involved in the multi-platform initiative on an ongoing basis, providing women with tips and insights from their own routines.
This is particularly the case for a key campaign component in the form of an evolving mobile experience on iOS where women can keep track of their fitness and keep in touch with a broader community of female athletes.
This global campaign takes aim not just at female athletes but ‘athletic females,’ argues Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.
These consumers are ‘looking to wear UA, and participate with it, beyond the pitch, the court or the field,’ continues Plank.
‘She’s looking to wear us to the gym. Or she’s thinking about going to the gym and doesn’t make it. But she still looks great all day.’
2014 saw Under Armour’s sales explode and this groundbreaking women’s campaign, with its ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach, played a major role in the success.
Clearly one of the year’s best campaigns targeting women: it isn’t just empowering, but it is also astonishing and, perhaps more importantly, disrupting.
It is changing the notion of what a sports endorsement can look like.
Under Armour itself describe the campaign strategy a ‘woman-a-festo’ and that its objective was to ‘ break through the sea of sameness’ in the category.
The insight behind ‘I Will What I Want’ was not ‘you go, girl’, but rather to celebrate and inspire women ‘who had the physical and mental strength to tune out the external pressures and turn inward and chart their own course’.
The tagline, ‘I Will What I Want’ feel unique and defiant. A howl of inner strength overcoming fate.
No wonder that industry bible Advertising Age awarded Under Armour its prestigious ‘Advertiser Of The Year’ accolade for 2014.
Under Armour ‘I Will What I Want’
Under Armour YouTube
Under Armour Misty Copeland