Messaging — Perseverance: UA’s paid social campaigns heavily focus on the message of #TheOnlyWayIsThrough. This message hints at enduring the difficulties of life during Covid-19, but also calls out the innate characteristics of a runner such as perseverance and grit. Aligning messaging between current-world circumstances and the core values of the audience is likely a strong element of advertising performance in this case.
Messaging — Hope & Togetherness: UA is also heavily aligning their brand with a message of positivity, and clearly showing how participating with their brand can help alleviate some major challenges that the audience facing today — Loneliness and lack of motivation. Creative featuring live-streamed group home workouts with peer support is used to illustrate the message.
Tactics — Branded Hashtag Across Organic & Paid: Using a branded hashtag like #TheOnlyWayIsThrough can help to reinforce core messaging, link your brand positively to a strong cause, and encourage UGC creation that further amplifies the branded message.
Tactics — Micro Influencers in Paid Social Creative: Most of UA’s top performing paid social creative features influencers, specifically micro influencers. Working with micro influencers is now commonplace in brands’ organic social content, but many brands are missing the opportunity to use this tactic in their paid social creative.
Tactic — Aligned Messaging between Paid social & organic social posts: UA aligns messaging across all their social channels & formats, creating an stronger and more unified message.
While Nike, Adidas and New Balance phased out FB and IG ads in July due to the FB ad boycott, Under Armour increased their ad spend investment significantly on Facebook (+734%), Instagram (+724%) and YouTube (+568%).
Top performing Facebook campaigns were lower funnel conversion ads that were product-focused, and featured supportive messaging around the LGBTQ community and COVID-19.
48% of Under Armour’s Instagram budget for the past 6 months (Feb - July 2020) was allocated towards an at-home workout video campaign featuring running and various fitness influencers.
On YouTube, top performing running ads advertised the “MAPMYRUN” mobile app which connects to UA’s smart running shoe, and promoted at-home workouts.