CES 2015: Under Armour Brand, Now in mHealth Space, in Best Shape Ever

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Under Armour UA Record health app Lindsay Vonn

This week at the CES 2015 tech confab in Las Vegas, Under Armour announced that it’s bringing the UA brand into the health-tracking business, launching its UA Record app.

The new health platform and fitness tracking app, designed with HTC, is right in step with the explosion in connected fitness, with CES-goers inundated with wearables and apps merging health, sports, big data and style. [more]

The digital health and fitness platform marks a savvy extension for a brand that is in healthier shape than ever, kicking off the new year ahead of a fierce competitor: Adidas.

Long been playing catch-up to archrival Nike when it comes to US sportswear, Adidas saw Under Armour surpassed the German sportswear giant in 2014, bringing in $2.6 billion in revenue in the US while Adidas racked up $1.6 billion, according to new research reported by Marketwatch.

While Adidas is already fighting back with a star-studded campaign released today, market leader, Nike, likely doesn’t have much to worry about just yet. Nike posted US sales of $11.8 billion last year—and that’s not counting the $2.5 billion that its Jordan Brand brought in.

This is the first time Under Armour, whose brand ambassadors include Gisele Bundchen and ballerina Misty Copeland, has passed Adidas for a full year of sales in America, where Adidas shoe revenue dropped 30% year-over-year and its apparel sales declined by 20%.

In another blow it lost UK tennis star Andy Murray, winner of seven Grand Slam titles, including Wimbledon in 2013. The 27-year-old Murray recently decided not to renew his deal with Adidas and instead opted for Under Armour.

Adidas is trying to stem its losses with a number of different tactics, including naming a new president for North America, establishing a new hub in Brooklyn that will be home to the company’s global design team, and signing a 12-year deal with the University of Miami Hurricanes. Nike had been the university’s previous supplier and Under Armour had also bid to be the new supplier. That’s one for the Adidas victory column.

Today Adidas also unveiled a major brand campaign, one that leverages its powerhouse roster of brand ambassadors—David Beckham, Rita Ora, Pharrell and Damian Lillard—in a new campaign, #OriginalSuperstar.

The brand’s pitch for the campaign’s kick-off film, above:

When the Superstar shoe was first launched by adidas back in 1969, the word ‘Superstar’ was unambiguous. Today, the word has been corrupted to the point of confusion. This year adidas Originals sets out to question what it means to be a superstar, beginning with this film featuring Pharrell Williams, David Beckham, Rita Ora and Damian Lillard.

Under Armour, of course, is doing everything it can to keep growing market share. In a bid to build up its footwear business, UA today unveiled the first shoe in its sponsorship deal with NBA star (and Golden State Warriors guard) Stephen Curry.

The Curry One will appear in its first NBA game Friday night against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

UA also has high hopes for Under Armour Record, which it’s billing as the “Ultimate Health and Fitness App.”

It’s now available for free via the Apple App Store and Google Play, and features its roster of buff brand ambassadors, including Gisele Bundchen, ballerina Misty Copeland and skier Lindsay Vonn.

The battle of these sportswear brands for #2 in the vital US market should make for an interesting 2015—even if Nike’s not too worried. Yet.

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