Because investors want to see growth, much of the talk surrounding Under Armour in the first half of the year focused on areas like women's gear and non-cleat footwear. The company's share of those arenas is still minuscule, its marketing efforts still in nascent stages.
But Under Armour knows not to stray too far from the sport -- and the feel -- that helped it grow into a $2 billion a year enterprise.
It also knew whose influence it wanted to infuse any new football campaign with: former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. He served as executive producer on a new spot called "Ready for August."
Under Armour is launching its second "brand holiday" for its "I WILL" campaign this week by releasing a stirring football video showing high school players streaming toward a practice field under the Baltimore skyline (it's a practice field once used by Dunbar, before Under Armour built the school a new facility.) The kids -- players from Dunbar, St. Francis and Gilman -- wear their "I WILL" gear and determined looks on their faces as music beats in the background.
The video ends with a linebacker leveling a running back. Just as you'd expect from Lewis.
According to a press release, Lewis helped script the concept for the commercial, spent time on set and was involved with editing.
"Under Armour was a part of my career on the field," he said, "and even though my playing days are over, having the opportunity to reach young athletes with empowering and positive messages is something I look forward to in the next chapter in my life."
Lewis also explained his philosophy for the ad: "You show the pure football scenes, the look on their faces, and that will connect immediately with anyone who has ever played the game."
Under Armour's last major preseason football campaign was the Click Clack blitz in 2006.
The new ad will debut during the Major League Baseball All-Star game's Home Run Derby next week, but you can get a look above. Be warned: you'll likely try to tackle a co-worker after seeing this.
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