Call it Under Armour’s answer to the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign.
The Baltimore-based sports apparel brand rolled out a new ad campaign Thursday called “Will Finds A Way,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and eight unconventional athletes. One is a triathlete with cerebral palsy, another a Syrian woman who swam for her life while saving a boat with other refugees.
In the campaign’s introductory commercial, Johnson shares how an injury destroyed his football career and left him with just $7 in his pocket. He says he overcame hardship by being “the hardest worker in the room.”
It’s an inspirational story the brand needs to hear right now. Under Armour has struggled with steep losses and has seen its popularity fade among teenagers, a key demographic for sports apparel brands.
But, while domestic sales fell over 5 percent in fiscal year 2017, international sales soared more than 46 percent. And the new campaign seems to reflect a growing global awareness for the company. Several of the featured athletes are international: Chinese martial artist and actress Zoe Zhang, French judoka Teddy Riner and Syrian swimmer Yusra Mardini, who competed in the most recent Olympics.
“Screw fate,” she tells the camera, at the edge of a pool wearing a swim cap and goggles.
Other athletes include Natasha Hastings, the “400 Meter Diva.” There’s also NBA point guard Dennis Smith Jr., stuntwoman Jessie Graff, triathlete Johnny Agar, and 11-year-old state boxing and gymnastics champion Javon "Wanna" Walton, who adorably mimics Johnson’s signature “raised eyebrow” move.
The eight athletes get more screen time in eight breakout films. In one, Agar, born with cerebral palsy, recreates an Under Armour commercial starring Michael Phelps.
The yearlong "Will Finds A Way" campaign was created with Droga5, and directed by the Malloy brothers and Nathalie Canguilhem.