Under Armour’s New Campaign Reminds Us Training Is a Grind, But a Path to Greatness

Even Misty Copeland, Cam Newton and Lindsey Vonn have to press through the pain

Misty Copeland is one of several athletic icons starring in Under Armour's new campaign from Droga5. Under Armour

Training isn’t just for elite athletes. That’s what Under Armour highlights in its global ad campaign launching today with the goal of uniting all athletes through the common love/hate relationship with training.

“Will Makes Us Family,” the next arc in the brand’s training-oriented marketing, brings together everyday athletes, along with NFL quarterback Cam Newton, skier Lindsey Vonn, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, golfer Jordan Spieth and boxer Anthony Joshua. Regardless of athletic level, everyone trains and everyone falters.

“Previous campaigns highlighted individual accomplishments,” says Attica Jaques, Under Armour’s new global head of brand management. “Now it’s unification and unity shared.”

“Training is the DNA of our brand,” continued Jaques. “Everyone trains. Athletes, everyday consumers. It humanizes the athletes. Everyone struggles. It’s inspiring.”

Created by Droga5, Under Armour’s 90-second anthem spot brings together athletes of all levels, whether it’s Lindsey Vonn on TRX or a woman doing squats as she holds her baby—everyone is working hard.

About 50 seconds in, the perfect façade fades: a swimmer hoists herself out of a pool, exhausted; a woman loses her complex yoga pose; even Misty Copeland needs to stop and gather herself. Other athletes are bloody and bruised, yet they all continue on to train another day. Listen closely and you’ll hear the sounds of hard work: grunts, groans, the run of a treadmill, squeaky sneakers and the sounds of a shower to end the day.

Jaques said the brand and the agency wanted to take a different musical approach to the campaign compared to most high-energy athletic marketing. “We slowed down the music, using ‘You Can Make It If You Try’ by Gene Allison,” she said. “The ads are not fast-paced. Viewers can hear the grunts, noise and grind that comes with training. Under Armour is squarely rooted in the foundation of training.”

The global campaign, digitally and socially led, has launched around sporting events; Cam Newton’s ad coincided with his NFL game last Sunday, while Anthony Joshua’s ad launched after he defended and retained his heavyweight title.

You couldn’t have timed that better if you tried.

Amy Corr is a contributor to Adweek.