Effie awards

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Under Armour is introducing two new sneaker designs (May I call them sneakers?) this week in an attempt to increase its share of the $22B athletic footwear (sneakers) market.  A market, by the way, that was only about $3B in 1993.  The TV campaign handled by Twofifteen McCann and Digiteria for digital offers a lot of smart tactics: the director of Friday Night Lights, a YouTube takeover to reach the younger buyers, limited distribution to build demand, Cam Newton, and an idea that ties sneakers to sports action – FootstepsAs smart as these tactics are, they feel like a pastiche of forced-together marketing tools from an Effie Awards Annual. I suspect they will work, however.

First and foremost though, one must ask if footwear is a business Under Armour wants to be in.  I say no. And I’ve said so before in WTI.  Sunglasses? No as well. UA founder Kevin Plank, in his heart knows this.  He owns a franchise that is now being diluting.  You can’t keep sticking the same tea bag in new water.  The company already owns fast twitch muscle, form fitting wicking shirts but will lose that ownership as it takes its eyes off the ball. Wicking sneaker tops?  Not so sexy.  Lindsey Vonn. Oh yeah.

Mr. Plank’s next move should be into form fitting shorts and shirts for the fashion conscious market.  Leave the kicks to Nike.  Or start a new footwear endemic company  This is one brand extension that might sell some shoes near term, but is going to turn Under Armour into a brand in decline overall.  And it’s sad.  Stop playing with feet! Peace.

(Picture from NY Times.)

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I like the Effies.  Effie Awards are given out for, ta-dah, effective advertising and marketing programs.  I also like the Direct Marketing Associations Echo Awards — a show that awards those who quantify sales results. Cannes and the One Show are at the high end of the spectrum, with the Tellys at the other, in a long array of other hardware shows that tend to be more fashion than anything else.  I love art and creativity, please don’t get me wrong, but prefer sales with my marketing.

The Effies are like the sports in a way, in that people are rewarded when score is kept. Did the work generate value, sales, and market share?  And how much?  To the winners go the spoils.

I am often reminded of keeping score when I see “We’re here” advertising,” work that simply tells consumers what one does.  We’re here advertising is lazy and a blight.  A print ad today by the very reputable NYU Langone Medical Center proclaims through a one word headline “Whole.” Beneath this is the delicate, italicized and parenthetic word “hearted.”  The picture is of a physician holding a baby. Two sentences of copy mention the hospital does pediatric and adult cases, the doctors are accomplished and work for one of the nation’s top heart programs.  We’re here!   With nothing to say, they favor the say very little approach to readership.

What in the name of Einstein, is the measure of success here? Off to the Tellys. Peace!

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