So last month, the NBA finals went out with a bang as the Golden State Warriors won its first NBA title in 40 years. Cue the fanfare for #dubnation (meanwhile tears stream for Cavs fans). Cue also the insane celebrity brand endorsements. I’m talking about Under Armour’s plans to build a $1 billion athletic apparel empire centred on Stephen Curry (Have you visited their website recently? The man is all over it).
Talk about brand power.
Curry is touted to become the NBA’s next big marketing megastar with a serious social following. With the support of Curry’s own brand power, coupled with a multi-device, cross-channel digital strategy, including social, will no doubt score some big bucks for Under Armour.
Under Armour, which beat out Adidas’ position as the second largest sporting brand in the U.S. last year, is smart to capitalize on Curry and the Warriors’ recent win. As Under Armour rises, there has been much discussion on the brand rivalry of Nike and Under Armour. While Nike is dominant in the athletic wear and sporting goods industry, Under Armour is definitely challenging the giant for a bigger slice of the market share.
The Nike vs. Under Armour rivalry is no doubt interesting, but is made even more compelling when we discuss the mirrored rivalry between LeBron James and Stephen Curry – on the court, and now off it too as brand ambassadors of these respective brands.
The comparison between James and Curry throughout the finals has been constant, with commentators dishing about their game on the court. But what about their marketing game?
Neilsen recently polled over 1,000 Americans to get a better understanding of fan allegiance. Overall, 65% and 53% of those surveyed considered James and Curry, respectively, to be successful athletes. But further inquiry resulted in some interested projected consumer behavior.
The poll determined that LeBron James’ fans are “likely to be in the market for a new wireless service, as they’re 30% more likely than the average American to report planning to switch mobile carriers in the next 12 months. They’re also prospective car owners, 5% more likely to plan to buy a luxury vehicle in the next 12 months and 25% more likely to be on the hunt for a full-size car.”
Note that LeBron James is currently endorsing the 2015 Kia K900 Luxury Sedan, and has deals with Samsung and Nike.
When it comes to the Fan Purchase Profile of Stephen Curry, Neilsen uncovered that they were 16% more likely than the general population to purchase deodorant, athletic gear, and men’s business clothing. Remember, he’s the face of Degree Deodorant for men, Under Armour, and Express.
With the advent of social media, brands big and small have even more ways of directly reaching audiences through the personal Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, and Twitter accounts of stars. The message is always clear: “this is the best brand, this product really works. I use it, now you have to try it – trust me.” Fans buy into it.
Celebrities already have an existing relationship with their fan base. They’re trusted, loved, revered. Celebrity endorsements help brands leverage this lucrative, highly targeted audience.
Digital media including social media offers huge opportunities for advertisers to get their message in front of diehard fans. So we decided to investigate the digital media game that puts the brand power of LeBron James and Stephen Curry head to head for Nike vs. Under Armour.
What were the digital ad strategies of Nike vs. Under Armour with these megastars at their helm? What kinds of ads did they use and where did they serve them? Scroll through the infographic below or download our report to find out.