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SBD Global/July 10, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Under Armour VP Of Brand And Sports Marketing Talks About Growth Strategy In U.K.

The Under Armour brand "has built awareness among athletes," and last year hit sales of $2B. Now, Under Armour "is on a vicious growth strategy to expand the business" outside the U.S. over the next three years and "double revenues" by '16. Under Armour Senior VP of Brand & Sports Marketing MATTHEW MIRCHIN talked to MARKETING MAGAZINE about "gaining traction" in the U.K. and its "vicious growth strategy."

Q: Under Armour is firmly rooted in American football in the U.S. -- how do you translate such an American brand into the U.K. and the rest of the world?
Matthew Mirchin: As a brand, we make sure we secure the right assets in different regions of the world to make sure we tell our performance story. In the U.S., we do it through American football, in the U.K. through Tottenham Hotspur. In Chile, we’ve just signed football side Colo Colo, and in Japan we’ve done it through basketball. We know the brand translates when we do it correctly: the storytelling is the same across the regions, we just have to make sure we have the right people telling it.

Q: How will you utilize your technical sponsorship of Tottenham Hotspur for your marketing work in the U.K.?
Mirchin: Tottenham Hotspur is an incredible asset for us. It's got a presence in the world of football and puts us firmly in the U.K. market. This is the second year of our sponsorship, so everything we have coming up around retail, point of sale, social and digital in the U.K. will revolve around Tottenham Hotspur.

Q: How do you feel about wearing women's lingerie?
Mirchin: I wear it all the time now, it's fantastic. But seriously, one of our number-one requested products by athletes is our underwear, our boxer shorts. It’s the most comfortable lingerie you’ll ever wear.

Q: Under Armour has previously benefited from athletes visibly wearing your clothing for its technical ability despite their sponsorship deals. Do you still see the brand’s logo popping up in unexpected places now that the business is accepted as a challenger brand?
Mirchin: Now that we’re bigger, it’s tougher to be guerrilla about our marketing and it is a little difficult to get our product onto players with big sponsorship deals. But when you see an athlete wearing Under Armour while they are paid by another sponsor, it is about as good an endorsement as you get. We love it (MARKETING MAGAZINE, 7/9).
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