Under Armour, The Next Generation of Underwear?

In a recent New York Times article,  reporter Stuart Elliot takes a look at Under Armour’s new $1 million ad campaign, noting that it’s a bigger, bolder move than the athletic apparel brand has made before.

Taking note of some trends that The Underwear Expert has been at the forefront of reporting, Elliot remarks:

The Boxerjock campaign underlines the ferment in the men’s underwear market, once a sleepy corner of the clothing industry dominated by heritage brands like BVD, Fruit of the Loom and Hanes. The changes that began with labels like Calvin Klein are accelerating as marketers respond to what Women’s Wear Daily this month described as “surging demand for fashion, color and performance” products among shoppers.

Under Armour is now making a concerted effort to compete with brands like Calvin Klein on the floor of department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, and it’s moving out of its traditional market of athletic apparel sold to “the brand’s “core target” [which is] typically the high school athlete, ages 12 to 17,” according to Tom McGovern, managing director at Optimum Sports in New York, who was interviewed for the article. “The campaign is aimed at an audience that is “a little older” than that for most Under Armour ads,” McGovern is quoted as saying.

This million-dollar campaign features NFL star rookie player Cam Newton and emphasizes the unique Under Armour brand identity, which is a bit more aggressive than the likes of Calvin Klein. Themes like “Protect this house. I will,” “Make all athletes better,” and “You’ll never wear regular underwear again” underscore the way that Under Armour presents itself.

But this jockish mentality is not the only direction that Under Armour is going, Stuard Redsun, a senior vice president for global brand marketing, explains to Elliot.

Underwear represents “the first layer of gear people put on every day,” Mr. Redsun says. “We’re expanding the Boxerjock collection to go from sports-specific to a broader use.” The “sports-specific” reference is to products meant to be worn while playing, say, baseball or football.

The new boxer briefs are also being aimed at “a broader range of consumers,” Mr. Redsun says, by offering “high comfort” along with “high performance.”

“It’s really the next generation” of underwear, he adds.

Well, that claim remains to be seen. But it must be a new era when even the New York Times is taking note of the developments in the men’s underwear industry.

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