Popular athletic apparel, footwear, and accessories manufacturer Under Armour (NYSE: UA ) has done well over the years to attract both male and female athletes to its brand. Take one look inside your local gym and it's obvious that the company has already conquered the space for the most part.
However, in order to ensure that the Under Armour brand remains strong for years and decades to come, company management has started to aggressively target America's youth. In much the same way that Nike became a household name by ingraining its brand in the minds of generations of consumers, Under Armour is looking to solidify its position among today's youth and tomorrow's consumers.
It is no secret that young boys and girls have a fascination with superheroes. If you need proof, just look at the massive success that Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS ) has had with its Marvel Entertainment property in recent years.
Marvel's The Avengers broke all kinds of movie-premiere records and grossed a staggering $1.5 billion in 2012. A year later, Iron Man 3 proved the success was not a fluke, as the more narrowly focused movie still managed to generate more than $1.2 billion. The upcoming sequel to The Avengers called Age of Ultron is due in 2015 and follows the same release schedule as its predecessor. It will most likely be an even bigger commercial success given that Disney continues to build up the plot and character arcs.
So, where does Under Armour come in? It's simple: The retailer is capitalizing on the country's fixation with superheroes by offering apparel that features some of the more notable characters. In anticipation of Marvel's upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Under Armour has designed fully functional workout gear with Captain America's signature logo as part of its ongoing Alter Ego collection.
The company's website cleverly explains, "Alter Ego. Transform yourself. It doesn't just help you work, it lets you feel like you can do anything -- like a super hero -- every time you train."
The company's website also shows shirts modeled after Iron Man's battle suit, Hulk's transformed body, and Thor's hammer drop. The strategy is not limited to Disney's Marvel characters either. Under Armour's Alter Ego line has gear that prominently features Batman and Superman logos as well.
In addition to offering products with traditional superhero designs, Under Armour's signature workout apparel is featured prominently in many popular movies nowadays. For instance, the company's Vent shirt and Speedform Apollo sneaker both make appearances in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Although Under Armour is offering the Alter Ego line to consumers of all ages, the line makes the most sense for kids and young adults. As they grow up watching and wanting to emulate the big screen's latest incarnation of superheroes, America's youth will want to wear the same gear worn by their heroes.
While certainly nothing revolutionary, Under Armour's latest marketing attempt is yet another example of how well company management is executing. By simply aligning with popular media characters and creating custom gear, Under Armour and its shareholders now find themselves riding the seemingly unstoppable wave of superhero euphoria.
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