The so-called dark horse of athletic apparel, Under Armour has made their business on disrupting an industry. But for them, it’s not about flash. It’s about being scrappy. It's about knowing what your audience wants, what they need, and how to tell the difference.
Elements of the project
My opportunity with Under Armour was to strategize and write their fall / winter 2016 lookbook. When the project began, Owen Jones & Partners brought in a handful of freelancers and they all got to work: They were paired into three teams—a writer and an art director apiece—and each tasked with developing a unique concept and visual style.
Two weeks later, I was floored to learn that my theme had been chosen. It was to be an exploration of the elements, and how Under Armour’s gear equips you to overcome them. In that space, the player is free to focus on the struggle that really matters: You against your own limits.
With the headlines written and the body drafted, we got experimental. We rented a smoke machine. We shot a few (sort of) waterproofed printouts in a shower to get an authentically watery, then icy, effect. We got creative with a scanner to warp text for a distinctly "melty" look. And so on, and so on.
The result was something a bit offbeat for the brand. A few months later, Under Armour invited us back to do the 2017 spring / summer lookbook.
On the topic of unexpected brand applications, I once worked with CoverGirl and Walgreens to capitalize on the film release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Based on a series of avant-garde styles modeled after Panem tributes, I created the "CoverGirl District Look Quiz."
Users were invited to answer a questionnaire about their personal style, and in response, they were assigned to one of the 12 Districts, complete with handpicked cosmetics to bring the look to life. Plus, if they spent $20 or more on CoverGirl products, they earned a ticket to see the movie for free.
Owen Jones & Partners