In just a few years, Under Armour has become one of the most successful brands in America, with billions of dollars in annual revenue.
To be sure, the sportswear company's products get rave reviews. But part of Under Armour's success must be attributed to strong marketing, which includes endorsements from some of the world's elite athletes.
For example, yesterday the company dropped a new commercial featuring one of their most popular advocates, NBA MVP Stephen Curry.
This commercial's great for many reasons. Like all great marketing it hits us where it matters most: by touching our emotions.
The ad begins with both Curry and youth of various ages reciting the story fans know well, with a run-down of both the challenges and accomplishments the superstar has experienced through the years.
"Too small for the league." "180 pounds soaking wet." "MVP, not once, two times--unanimous."
But that's old, everybody claims. Boring.
Then, something different. Something that strikes a nerve.
"73 and 9, and no ring?" asks one young fan/trash talker, incredulously. (This is a direct reference to Curry's Warriors breaking the NBA's regular season win record, but ultimately losing the NBA finals to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.)
"Missed championship?" asks another. "Uh-oh," a little baller mumbles.
"Shhhhh." A young man says, with a single finger to his half open lips, a look of fear in his eyes. It's a warning as to what might happen if we make the superstar mad.
"Missed championship?" asks Curry, his attention suddenly arrested. "That's fresh."
His response is met with reawakened enthusiasm from the young ballers:
"That's new." "That's interesting."
Next we see the MVP engaging in a sequence of intense drills, spurred by an unseen, motivating force he hasn't felt in a while:
Missed championship? "Now make that old!" challenges a young boy.
The commercial ends with Curry quietly pondering his future, alone in the locker room, with two words superimposed in bold letters:
Why It Works
I have to admit, this is my favorite commercial in a while (despite the fact that I don't own a single piece of Under Armour merchandise).
Growing up, basketball was my life. We spent hours on the playground, in the gym, in our backyards--wherever we could find a game.I've played with some talented athletes through the years, but the best I've ever seen--up close and personal--was my friend Brandon.
Brandon played on a different level from the rest of us. He could do things that no one else could--like grab a rebound and throw a full court pass to a streaking teammate, in one motion. Thunderous, tomahawk dunks. Strong and quick enough to play any of the five positions...I'm convinced he could have easily played in a top university, and may have even made it to the pros. (He chose a different path, and has never regretted it.)
But there was one thing that would always raise Brandon's game to new heights:
When someone made him angry.
When Brandon got mad (which wasn't often), he didn't fight or even talk trash. But he became a different player. Already the most skilled and athletic guy on the court, anger made him literally unstoppable.
It was emotional intelligence at its best: The raw power of emotion, perfectly harnessed, then utilized to his advantage.
And it was a thing of beauty.
Curry's new ad taps into those feelings.
Have you "failed?" Have you got anger?
Great--don't let it own you. Figure out how to use that "negative" emotion for good--to accomplish a specific purpose or reach a personal goal.
Because you can't control how you feel. But you can control how you react.