How Under Armour’s Marketing to Women Strategy Annihilates the “Shrink It and Pink It” Myth

Under Armour LogoPrevailing wisdom, for more than a decade, has sold business owners a marketing to women magic elixir dubbed “Shrink It and Pink It.”

Seems pretty enticing. Probably works like gangbusters, right?

Baloney. Prevailing wisdom is wrong… Shrink It and Pink It is pure crappola. And anyone who believes that this strategy is the path to fast, easy riches is going to be sorely disappointed.

Let me say this plainly: Shrink It and Pink It is nothing more than a lazy, half-assed attempt to reach the heart of the female consumer.

Under Armour discovered this reality more than eight years ago after its first foray into the female market stumbled out of the starting gate.

Under Armour, as you might recall, is the super-macho athletic clothing brand that took Nike’s “Just Do It” mantra and pumped it full of steroids. You’ve probably seen the company’s sweaty advertising, which features muscular male athletes in a full array of clichéd, chest thumping postures.

Well it might surprise you to learn that Under Armour took a soft and gentle approach with it’s first marketing to women campaign.

“We developed a women-specific line with seven pieces, including a couple of tops and bottoms and a sports bra,” said Steve Battista, Under Armour Vice President of Brands. “We had followed the industry rule, ‘Shrink it and pink it,’ but when six guys, including me, took a look at the pieces laid out on a table in our office, we all realized that they didn’t work.”

Under Armour spun one-eighty with its latest attempt to attract female buyers.

What exactly did the company learn?

For one thing, the company learned that you just can’t bowl women over with brand imagery. In other words, Under Armour’s products must fit and perform as promised. Its female customers demand it.

Most importantly, women want to be treated no differently than men. Rather than being pigeonholed as “female athletes,” women simply want to be known as “athletes.”

Yes, Under Armour gets it. Watch this advertisement from Under Armour’s new marketing to women campaign. The ad features Olympic skier, Lindsey Vonn.

As you just saw, the commercial mirrors the same, heart-thumping approach as Under Armour takes with its male audience. Heck. Women play sports. They’re competitive. They get knocked down and get right back up, just like men. So why treat the female consumer any different?

Clearly, Under Armour treats women no differently than men.

But that’s not all. Under Armour’s efforts to attract women to its brand go beyond words.

The company invests heavily in the currency of time and energy to prove its dedication to the female consumer, thereby booming its credibility.

Here’s how: In September, 2010, the company launched a female-specific Facebook fan page named, “Under Armour Women,” where you can upload articles, videos and workouts. You can even create your very own “team” of athletes.

And get this: Become a fan of “Under Armour Women” and notable female athletes such as Heather Mills, member of the U.S. National Soccer Team, will answer your most pressing workout questions.

Under Armour’s efforts to demonstrate its commitment to the female athlete aren’t restricted solely to Facebook. Company employees travel coast-to-coast to attend sporting events just so they can interact with its female fans. Now that’s walking the walk.

Here’s the bottom line: Persuasion — the primary goal of marketing — consists of two main ingredients: relevancy and credibility.

Under Armour’s new marketing to women campaign contains both ingredients. And the company attracts an army of female customers to its brand because of it.

So, how might you do the same?

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  1. [...] “Shrink It and Pink It is nothing more than a lazy, half-assed attempt to reach the heart of the female consumer,” says Tom Wanek from MarketingBeyondAdvertising.com. [...]



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