From underdog to superdog

By Deep South Media intern Lewis Waugh.


A huge amount of start-up businesses fail unnervingly quickly. According to Forbes, half of businesses fail in their first year and nine out of ten fail within 10 years.

With this in mind, the chance a new start-up business has of becoming a world leader is relatively slim, but not entirely impossible – with the exceptions lead by inspirational entrepreneurs, of course.

The sport apparel industry has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years.  Sport has become more and more popular.

Did I think I would be one of those guys wearing trendy vests with white and lime green running shoes? No, why did I buy them? They look cool, stupidly not thinking that the moment they touch the mud-covered terrain of the New Forest, they would consequently turn into not so fashionable, brown trainers.

Industry leaders Nike have been the driving force for years, pushing away competitors from the likes of Umbro and Puma by creating a brand that people prefer.

However, a new competitor has entered the race. A new, fresh, distinctive philosophy that could win the heart of sports men and women everywhere, changing the way sport apparel is seen and sold.

Founded in 1996, Under Armour introduce themselves as the underdogs with a vision to ‘Empower Athletes Everywhere’ and are now the third largest sport apparel brand in the world.

With Kevin Plank, pictured, at the helm – he founded the organisation when he was 24 – his youthful energetic nature flows through the company.

The brand captures everyone’s favorite underdog and has embedded that within their beliefs. A certain drive, passion and attitude lives within Under Armour that no other sport apparel company shows.

The New York Times has previously described Under Armour as ‘attitude clothing’.

Alongside a more meaningful message and identity, Under Armour has handpicked athletes which they think represent their band in the best possible way.

Stephen Curry (American professional basketball player), Cam Newton (American football quarter back) and Andy Murray (British Wimbledon Champion 2013), to name a few, are athletes that represent what Under Armour believes in, in both their play and their personalities.

The likes of Nike have picked the best of the best, leaving Under Armour with a huge pool of exciting, future world stars to pick from – something other organisations may have missed out on.

Should Nike be worried by the new kid on the block? I think so.

Under Armour is growing rapidly, nearly 25% in the last five years and with big plans ahead. The company generates $4 billion in sales today, with the goal of $7.5 billion in two years’ time. Currently Nike brings home $7.8 billion in athletic apparel revenue, according to Nike Reports.

So does Nike need to re-think and re-brand?

At Deep South Media we have protected organisations from falling into the trap of outdated and old-fashioned designs.

We ourselves have renewed our brand with a new website, keeping us contemporary, fresh and devices-friendly.

Meanwhile, Under Armour’s most recent campaign, Drog 5, is pushing the company into the soccer industry, an area seen to have the most room for growth and also one dominated by Nike.

Nike may well need to up its game to compete against top-quality marketing by Under Armour, whose stirring straplines include ‘I will’ and ‘What you do in the dark puts you in the light’.

Otherwise the underdog will knock off the king, and then it’s a whole new ball game.