In 2022, we partnered with UA to develop “The Gift of The Game,” the brand’s first stake in the ground as part of their journey from a product-led brand, to purpose-led. For 2023, we collaborated with UA again, now focused on the next step in that journey. With our Tough SS23 Campaign, the goal was to deepen and clarify the UA brand identity with a nuanced interrogation of the qualities that define the brand most distinctively and resonate with the UA community most strongly.
By honing in on the concepts of toughness and resilience, we found the opportunity to uncover a universality of experience — one that would connect athletes more deeply to UA, but also widen the scope and inspire every active person to see themselves in the brand’s community.
“To forge authentic connection, grammar can only take us so far,” Executive Creative Director André Stringer explains. “We had to go deep into the feeling space to unearth the novel insight that lies at the core of resilience or toughness, concepts that seem so familiar at first glance.”
To cultivate resilience, you must experience failure and frustration. Every athlete has experienced those valleys in their training, moments that push them to their limit, bring them to the point of utter exhaustion, and allow them to really look within and find out who they are. Creative Director Ginger Boyd notes, “It was crucial to unearth the most evocative version of this shared experience. To capture that feeling and allow it to reflect and inspire all athletes, from elite pros like Seth Curry, Jordan Thompson, and Fleur Jong, to everyday focused performers who embody this way of seeing the world.”
As we began looking toward the production phase of the project, writer and editor Nathan Caswell developed a system of grammar that hinged on the simple question: “When you dig deep, what do you find inside?” Caswell shares, “We were after something visceral and universal. We studied coaches and their ability to motivate using grounded language, those who know simpler is always better. We wanted to evoke that soil under the fingernails, the grime and sweat in pursuit of something more meaningful, shared in the plainest possible way.”