Investors Shouldn't Worry About Under Armour's Speed-Skating Uniforms

There's no such thing as bad publicity when you're trying to build a brand.

Feb 16, 2014 at 6:00PM

What's wrong with the U.S. speed-skating team in this year's Olympics? We've won 29 medals in this event in past winter games, far more than any other nation -- yet we don't even have a bronze in Sochi.

According to some pundits and stock analysts, the team's uniforms are at fault.

Really? So since Shaun White, arguably the best-ever half-pipe snowboarder, didn't even medal this year after grabbing the gold in the last two Olympics, does that mean there's something wrong with his Burton snowboard? 

Did Peyton Manning's Reebok shoes cause him to fall flat in the Super Bowl, following his dominant regular-season performance? When LeBron James couldn't win in Cleveland even though he was probably the best NBA player at the time, was it just his Nike sneakers holding him back?

You get the idea. Athletes win or lose based on things like talent, team performance, and the level of the competition. Sometimes it's just not your day, as Shaun White said of his showing in Sochi.

But supposing we actually could lay the blame on the speed skaters' Under Armour (NYSE:UA) uniforms, how would that affect Under Armour's stock?

My colleague Jake Mann sees a "worst-cast scenario" for Under Armour in terms of developing new products and global brand awareness. After all, the company is on an international stage right now. But if Under Armour takes some heat over speed skating, it's not going to devastate the company in the same way as if this had happened in a highly visible sport like football or baseball.

Besides, do you even remember what apparel company was involved in the last Olympic controversy? No? 

I'll help. It was Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL), and the "problem" with the U.S. Olympic Team uniforms that Ralph Lauren designed was that they were made in China, not America. It grabbed headlines at the time, but two years later, Ralph Lauren is alive and kicking, and the "controversy" is a distant memory.

People don't remember things like this in the long term. Shareholders never want to see their companies face even short-term dilemmas, but the bottom line here is that Under Armour took a gamble with its speed-skater uniforms that still may pay off in the long run. Under Armour has long been known as an innovator, taking risks and trying to make products different from and superior to everyone else's. Even if the company fails, it does so attempting something bold.

More importantly, Under Armour is still essentially a North American brand, with little exposure to the global market. Being a major sponsor in the Olympics, with American athletes wearing their clothing, is tremendous from a marketing aspect. No one is going to remember that a few critics blamed Under Armour for the speed-skating team's underperformance in Sochi, but they may well remember the logo emblazoned on the athletes' uniforms.

Building brand awareness has to start somewhere. As they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

If you thought the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad were amazing, just wait until you see this. One hundred of Apple's top engineers are busy building one in a secret lab. And an ABI Research report predicts 485 million of them could be sold over the next decade. But you can invest in it right now... for just a fraction of the price of AAPL stock. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening new report.

Matt Thalman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Nike and Under Armour. The Motley Fool owns shares of Nike and Under Armour. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Money to your ears - A great FREE investing resource for you

The best way to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as “binge-worthy finance.”

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:03PM

Whether we're in the midst of earnings season or riding out the market's lulls, you want to know the best strategies for your money.

And you'll want to go beyond the hype of screaming TV personalities, fear-mongering ads, and "analysis" from people who might have your email address ... but no track record of success.

In short, you want a voice of reason you can count on.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich," rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

And one of the easiest, most enjoyable, most valuable ways to get your regular dose of market and money insights is our suite of free podcasts ... what we like to think of as "binge-worthy finance."

Whether you make it part of your daily commute or you save up and listen to a handful of episodes for your 50-mile bike rides or long soaks in a bubble bath (or both!), the podcasts make sense of your money.

And unlike so many who want to make the subjects of personal finance and investing complicated and scary, our podcasts are clear, insightful, and (yes, it's true) fun.

Our free suite of podcasts

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. The show is also heard weekly on dozens of radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers are timeless, so it's worth going back to and listening from the very start; the other three are focused more on today's events, so listen to the most recent first.

All are available for free at www.fool.com/podcasts.

If you're looking for a friendly voice ... with great advice on how to make the most of your money ... from a business with a lengthy track record of success ... in clear, compelling language ... I encourage you to give a listen to our free podcasts.

Head to www.fool.com/podcasts, give them a spin, and you can subscribe there (at iTunes, Stitcher, or our other partners) if you want to receive them regularly.

It's money to your ears.

 


Compare Brokers