Under Armour Ambushes NBA All-Star To Launch Curry-Led New ‘Book Of Will’ Global Brand Campaign

Under Armour ambushed the NBA All-Star Weekend and leveraged its partnerships with baller Stephen Curry and actor Jamie Foxx to launch its biggest ever brand global campaign – ‘The Book Of Will’.


The new initiative, which is planned to run for a full year , is led by a set of short films celebrating the spirit of the underdogs and their relentless drive to succeed.


Foxx is both the star and the creative director of the first films – all of which expand on the brand’s current ‘I Will’ campaign.


The Oscar-winning actor and the NBA All-Star both joined Under Armour boss Kevin Plank at a New York City launch event that coincided with the start of the All-Star Weekend and which also saw the debut of the first film.


This debut long form spot, which follows the story of the Curry’s journey to NBA superstardom, is called ‘Volume One: Shakespeare Got it All Wrong.’


The creative follows Curry’s path from being the son of an NBA star, to being overlooked in high school basketball, through to his current status as the game’s current unguardable, creative genius.


From his largely unknown status to climbing to the very top of the NBAS tree, the spot declares Curry ‘The Patron Saint of Underdogs’.



The ad first aired on 15 February during TNT’s telecast of the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.


The first film, helmed by film director Peter Berg (known for Battleship, Hancock and Friday Night Lights), was also simultaneously posted on the brand’s own YouTube channel at youtube.com/underarmour.


Curry is a perfect fit for a campaign leveraging the All-Star Weekend as in 2015 he garnered the most fan votes in the competition to select this year’s All-Star players.


Furthermore, the ad also acts as the launch vehicle for Curry’s first ever signature shoe.


The model , the ‘Curry One’, also has its own ads and was first worn by Curry during the All-Star Game and its retail launch coincided with the weekend  in-store and on www.UA.com.



‘Stephen Curry is the hottest player in the NBA right now, and this film tells the story of his tough journey to get there,’ said Foxx.


‘With the season he’s having, everybody is acting as if they believed in his talent from the start, but he had to fight his way up from day one, through high school, to putting a small college on the map, to dominating in the league.’


‘I appreciate the journey I am on and what I’ve gone through to get where I am today,’ said Curry.


‘I’m enjoying the success, but I still feel I have room to grow to reach my full potential. The process is about getting better every day and never losing the hunger to reach all my individual and team goals.’


The second film in the series, called ‘Volume Two: Aristotle Got it All Wrong’, also debuted at the launch event.


It sees Foxx star with US track and field athletes Manteo Mitchell and Natasha Hastings and explores the self-determination and inner drive that is required to be the fastest on the track.


The creative tweaks Aristotle’s ‘You are what you repeatedly do’ quote into ‘You are what you repeatedly do, when things get hard’.



It then aired on NFL network and ESPN on 17 February and was also available via Under Armour’s YouTube channel youtube.com/underarmour.


This spot sees Mitchell and Hastings wear UA SpeedForm Gemini and UA SpeedForm Apollo Vent running shoes respectively.




Continuing the wider trend for sponsorship activation to blend genres and properties, linking a Hollywood actor with a basketball ambassador again suggests that sponsorship marketing no longer operates in separate silos.


‘We’ve had a relationship with Jamie since 1998 when he was filming the movie “Any Given Sunday” and we knew he was the right creative partner to help bring Stephen’s journey and the underdog message to life,’ explained Plank.


‘He understands what it means when athletes will themselves to make something happen, and – like creating a legacy in Hollywood or taking the NBA by storm — a lot of times that means rewriting the book and creating your own path.’


Of course, placing Curry at the heart of a giant new brand campaign makes sense in the USA where no other player currently has a higher level of fan sentiment and admiration.


He is that rare thing – a genuinely humble family-man superstar who has no enemies and no negative sentiment (unlike, for example, the NBA’s biggest star LeBron James – who is a more controversial character).


All values that mainstream brands would love to position themselves alongside.


But other stars will have to step up in creative across the rest of the world as Curry’s reach hardly stretches beyond North America.


Curry was in high brand demand during the All-Star Weekend and appeared in activations for State Farm (see case study), Footlocker (with Kyrie Irving),



Unilever Degree



and Express,



– as well as for Under Armour.


These deals also drove which All-Star events he participated in during the weekend – namely the Degree Shooting Stars Competition, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night as well as the main All-Star Game event.


As for Under Armour’s umbrella new blockbuster global brand campaign, it will pitch the brand head-to-head in direct competition with the new ‘Take It‘ international brand initiative from adidas (see previous case study) as they slug it out for the US number two sportswear spot behind Nike.




Under Armour YouTube:



Under Armour Twitter:



Under Armour Instagram:



Under Armour ‘Record’ Website:



NBA Website:




Featured Showcases