SBJ/September 1 - 7, 2003/Marketingsponsorship

Under Armour adds spots on MTV to football-heavy sales campaign

Activewear company Under Armour was slated to debut a new 30-second spot last Thursday, timed around the peak sales season and marking the first time the Baltimore-based company has run an ad in non-sports programming. The ad, which is the cornerstone of the company's $8 million fall/winter TV and print campaign, was to run during MTV's Video Music Awards, and follows up on a 15-second teaser that began airing last month. A 60-second spot is ready for airing, as well.

Under Armour’s logo holds center stage as activewear firm takes its ad campaign to MTV’s Video Music Awards.

The bulk of Under Armour's spending will be in pro and college football on ABC and ESPN, and in other programming throughout ESPN's English-language networks. Buys on MTV and MTV2 round out the television component.

The spot is called "Breakdown" and features Dallas Cowboys Eric Ogbogu leading a breakdown, a noisy pregame ritual used by football teams to psych up and focus.

Under Armour handles all of its creative and media buying in-house. It is expecting revenue of $110 million this year, up $10 million from its expectations in January. Its ad and marketing budget is 10 percent of its revenue, according to Steve Battista, director of marketing. He said the 2003 budget is fully committed already.

  BRAND NEW JAYS: The Toronto Blue Jays will unveil new logos Tuesday that will replace marks that date back to 1997, which fans viewed as "tired and dated," according to Lisa Novak, the team's senior vice president of business affairs and administration. A sneak preview of new uniforms for 2004 will take place Wednesday.

The marks incorporate many radical changes to the current marks. For starters, they all feature either the word "Jays" or the letter "J" — not the currently used letter "T" or the word "Blue." Focus-group research by Washington, D.C.-based Charlton Research showed Toronto fans had a strong association with the nickname "Jays," but Novak disputed media reports that the team was considering changing its name to the single moniker.

A more vibrant tone of the team's blue will be used, and a "metallic graphite" silver/gray is being introduced as well, Novak said. The team declined to release the logos prior to their introduction at a news conference Tuesday evening; after that they can be viewed at torontobluejays.com.

The team will give a sneak preview of the new uniforms that will accompany the logo change in 2004 during a game Wednesday. The threads will not be on players but will be showcased in "entertainment events" that Novak would not elaborate on.

The team has designed two new alternate uniforms in addition to the home and away standards for 2004. It will employ one of the alternates in 2004 and roll out one more in 2005. A similar strategy will be employed with team marks, with new secondary marks for merchandise being rolled out through 2005.

Toronto firm Brandid handled the logo and uniform makeover for the team. MLB and licensee Majestic Athletic collaborated on the project, which Novak said will cost the team slightly more than $100,000, including research, design and promotion.

  AFTER "TMAC," COMES "A10": The Atlantic 10 has developed new primary and secondary logos that play up the "A10" slang moniker that the conference formerly shunned. "Even when newspapers were referring to us as 'A10,' the one thing we always wanted was to be recognized with our formal name. But we were being told that that's not how people were seeing us as an identity," said Commissioner Linda Bruno. Lynnfield, Mass., branding firm Conover Tuttle handled the opinion research and image makeover for the 28-year-old conference.

Contact Noah Liberman at nliberman@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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