Sports apparel giant Under Armour launched an iconic sports marketing ad campaign called ‘Rule Yourself’. The campaign began in 2015 creating buzz to lead to the Rio Olympics 2016. The promotional channel included Under Armour’s very own signature athletes Michael Phelps (swimming), Stephen Curry (basketball), Tom Brady (football), Misty Copeland (ballerina), and Jordan Spieth (golf). The series captured the hard work and the sacrifice that goes into making an Olympic athlete.
One such ad that specifically stood out was the spot featuring Michael Phelps created by the Droga5 agency. The short film focuses on the Olympic great’s struggles behind-the-scenes in a dark setting with The Kills’ official ‘The Last Goodbye’ as the background score depicting the struggle that goes in, celebrated with a strong message in the end that says ‘IT’S WHAT YOU DO IN THE DARK THAT PUTS YOU IN THE LIGHT’.
The ad never mentioned anything about the Olympics as Under Armour were no sponsors for the tournament, but the company with that advert made the best use of timing.
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The commercial earned strides of appreciation from all over the world resulting in engagement on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc., as Droga5’s creative became the 5th most shared Olympics ad ever at that time.
Adding to the appreciation, the short film also won the Film Craft Grand Prix at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which honours “the quality and aesthetic of the individual elements of the film-making process.”
Harry Roman, Droga5’s co-head of strategy told Adweek,
“I think people connect with this film because it paints hard work and sacrifice with beautiful strokes, but does so in a way that is raw and real about what it takes to win, I would like to think that this film and the stirring lyrics, ‘It’s The Last Goodbye,’ are playing in the back of people’s minds when they see him smiling on the podium.”
“We probably won’t ever see another athlete like Michael Phelps for a very long time,” Roman concluded.
Coming back to the ‘Rule Yourself’ campaign, according to report by the Medium, “Under Armour posted record revenues and earnings in 2016, as total revenues rose 22% from 2015 to 2016 (increased to $4.8 billion). The company had tremendous gross margin in both 2015 (48.1%) and 2016 (46.5%), while operating income increased 6% to $420 million in 2016 and net income grew 11% to $259 million”.
Under Armour also benefited with exposure from the victories of their signed athletes in the same period as Stephen Curry won the NBA MVP in both 2015–2016, Michael Phelps won 5 gold medals at the Rio Olympics and Tom Brady won the Super Bowl.