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[BRANDS]#DESIGNTHINKING: UNDER ARMOUR TEAMS UP WITH AUTODESK TO MAKE THE FIRST 3D PRINTED SNEAKERS; UA ARCHITECH. WATCH TV AD:

Under Armour entered the 3D printing field by creating their first 3D printed shoe in the early quarter of 2016 precisely March.. The shoe, called the UA Architech, has a specially designed midsole that can only be created by a 3D printer. 

Under Armour worked with the 3D design company Autodesk to create what they call an all-purpose trainer. Autodesk; within the program that created the midsole, used different algorithms to find the perfect balance of comfort, cushioning, and support. This process guarantees the shoe to be used through multiple workouts without having to change shoes. The design of the midsole sports a very unique lattice design that looks very well done.

Watch Under Armour AUTODESK TV Ad here:

The shoe also displays a 3D ClutchFit auxetic upper. Along with that, there is a caged cushioning underfoot. Without having to put the shoe on, one can tell that it does indeed seem very comfortable and breathable. For a shoe that is 3D printed, it sure does look very futuristic, which is a nice aesthetic touch

Shoes like these are beginning to become the future of sports technology because of their custom fit, unique style and health benefits. Shoes like the Architech aren’t just custom made for the heck of it. Every person’s foot sizes are completely different so it becomes very difficult to find a perfect match. In the case of the new Architech, users were able to enter many details regarding how they wanted their shoe to perform during workouts such as flexibility, weight, and stress. So not only is the new shoe created fit individual wearers, it might be beginning of solving the question of whether there is a perfect workout shoe. With the technology on the rise, we will mostly likely see another printed shoe by Under Armour next year or even sooner.
BRAND STORY:

Under Armour (traded as NYSE UA)  is an American sports clothing and accessories company founded in 1996 by Kevin Plank (an undegrate footballer himself back in college). He designed his first sports wear after getting tired of soaked T-shirts after game play. He noticed his compression shorts worn during practice stayed dry. This inspired him to make his first T-shirt using moisture-wicking synthetic fabric (which he gave to his Maryland teammates and friends who had gone on to play in the NFL). Plank soon perfected the design creating a new T-shirt built from microfibers that wicked moisture and kept athletes cool, dry, and light. Major competing brands including Nike , Adidas and Reebok followed his trend years later. Plank initially began the business from his grandmother’s basement in Washington, D.C spending most of his time traveling up and down the East Coast with nothing but apparel in the trunk of his car. His first team sale came at the end of 1996 with a $17,000 sale. After a few moves in the city he landed at his current headquarters in Tide Point apparel. Under Armour began offering footwear in 2006. 
Plank opted to use the British spelling “armour” in the company name because the toll-free vanity number was still available for that version. 
People began to take notice of the brand when a front page photo of USA Today featured Oakland Raiders quarterback Jeff George wearing an Under Armour mock turtleneck. Following that front page, Under Armour’s first major sale came, when an equipment manager from Georgia Tech requested 10 shirts from Plank. This deal opened the door to a contract with Arizona State University , North Carolina State and other Division I football teams. With positive reviews from players, word began to spread and orders began to increase. That same year, Under Armour launched with several new apparel lines including ColdGear, TurfGear, AllseasonGear, and StreetGear. By the end of 1996, Under Armour had sold 500 Under Armour HeatGear shirts, generating $17,000 for the company. In 1997, Plank had $100,000 in orders to fill and found a factory in Ohio to make the shirts.

Under Armour received its next big break in 1999 when Warner Brothers contacted Under Armour to outfit two of its feature films, Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday and The Replacements. In Any Given Sunday , Willie Beamen (played by Jamie Foxx ) wears an Under Armour jockstrap. Leveraging the release of Any Given Sunday , Plank purchased an ad in ESPN The Magazine. The ad generated close to $750,000 in sales, and nine years after starting the company, Plank finally put himself on the payroll.

The following year (2000), Under Armour became the outfitter of the new XFL football league, gaining even more attention during the league’s debut on national television. In 2003, consumer sector focused private equity firm Rosewood Capital invested $12 million into the company.

The same year, the company launched its first television commercial, which centered on their motto, “Protect this house.” The company IPO’d on the NASDAQ in November 2005, raising $153m of capital. In late 2007, Under Armour opened its first full-line full-price retail location at the Westfield Annapolis mall in Annapolis , Maryland.

It has also opened several specialty stores and factory outlet locations in Canada , China, and 39 states including the opening of its first Brand House in Baltimore in 2013 and second Brand House in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia .[15]

In 2009, baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. formed an alliance under which the company would have significant presence at several venues and events under the auspices of Ripken Baseball, including providing uniforms for the minor league Aberdeen IronBirds and youth teams participating in the Cal Ripken World Series. 

The company is reported to be the major commercial sponsor for the reality TV show Duck Dynasty and has garnered attention for taking a stand supporting show “patriarch” Phil Robertson .[17]

Under Armour provided the suits worn by speedskaters in the 2014 Winter Olympics . The US speedskaters were losing while wearing the new Mach 39 speedsuits, but when they reverted to the previous model suits, the skaters continued to lose. Although there did not appear to be a design flaw in the suit that caused the poor results, the news of the suits caused Under Armour stock to drop 2.38%. 

The company, offering a reported US$ 250,000,000 over 10 years, also bid hard over Nike to sign NBA MVP Kevin Durant to an endorsement deal. However, Nike ultimately re-signed Durant after agreeing to structure a contract, offering US$ 300,000,000.

Brand Acquisitions:

On January 21, 2014, it was announced that the University of Notre Dame and Under Armour had come to terms on providing uniforms and athletic equipment for the university. This 10-year deal was the largest of its kind in the history of college athletics and became effective July 1, 2014. As of 2014, Under Armour has operated revenue and operating profit more than 30%, accelerating from their 2013 pace. Its share price has soared 62.5% this year.

After its November 2013 acquisition of digital app maker MapMyFitness for US$ 150,000,000, in February 2015 Under Armour announced it had purchased the calorie and nutrition counting app maker MyFitnessPal for $475m, as well as the fitness app maker Endomondo for US$ 85,000,000. 

On January 6, 2016, Under Armour announced a strategic partnership with IBM to use IBM Watson ‘s cognitive computing technology to provide meaningful data from its IOT kit and UA Record app.

On March 3, 2016, the company became the Official Match Ball Partner of the North American Soccer League, starting with their 2016 season. 

May 26, 2016 Under Armour and UCLA announced their plans for a 15-year, $280 million contract, making this the largest show and apparel sponsorship in NCAA history .

In July 2016 Under Armour leased the 53,000 square feet space formerly occupied by FAO Schwarz on New York’s Fifth Avenue ; it projected that its store would open in 2018. FAO Schwartz had been paying $20 million in rent. 

Promotions and Marketing:

Under Armour promotes its products by sponsorship agreements with many celebrity athletes latest being Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson and American footballer Carl Newton, professional athletic teams, field in which it competes with other sports apparel companies.

NFL Carl Newton’s custom American football boot.

Under Armour also markets its products through other product placements :

Any Given Sunday – Signed on to provide their apparel to Oliver Stone’s film. The key scenes that featured Under Armour gave the products relevancy in the sporting nation. This product placement led Kevin Plank to place an ad in ESPN the Magazine to capitalize on the national exposure.

The Challenge (Seasons 15–present) – Under Armour have provided the contestant’s jerseys for them to wear when they are in competition. 

The Wire – Under Armour is prominently featured in the Baltimore-set HBO series. 

Under Armour products have also been featured in the Marvel movies (Avengers series, Iron Man series, Captain America series, etc.).

House of Cards features Under Armour running gear.
Controversies

In 2015, Under Armour released plans for their new Under Armour Fitness Performance Center at the Bank of America Building at 10 Light Street in Baltimore. The Fitness Performance Center is planned to take place in the building’s lobby, covering historic murals of Baltimore’s history by art deco artist Hildreth Meiere with artificial turf flooring. This plan has been seen as controversial due to the fact that Kevin Plank and developer Cary Euwer used state and federal tax credits to restore the historical building, yet the historical murals are being covered up by turf flooring. Many historians and local Baltimoreans have expressed public outcry that the design should be reconsidered and the murals should be saved.

In January 2016 Under Armour initiated a marketing campaign featuring women hunters including an American woman named Sarah Bowmar. In August 2016 a video filmed by Bowmar went viral that showed her husband spearing a bear and then rejoicing that he had hit it; the bear was found dead only the next day. Under Armour was heavily criticized worldwide and as result, Under Armour ended its contract with Bowmar a few days after the video became known.  Hunters reacted negatively with a campaign of their own, boycotting Under Armour.

The all New Under Armour 3D printed Architech trainers went on sale  earlier this year on March 18th at a price of $300 and is already sold out. Only 96 were made as a reference to the year Under Armour was founded.

Under Armour’s global headquarters is located in Baltimore, Maryland with additional North American corporate office locations in Austin and Houston Texas; Denver, Colorado.; New York, New York; Portland, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; and Toronto, Canada. Under Armour’s International Headquarters is located in Panama City, Panama, with Latin America offices in São Paulo, Brazil; Santiago, Chile; and Mexico City, Mexico. Its European headquarters is in Amsterdam’s Olympic Stadium with an additional office in Munich, Germany. The Under Armour Shanghai office is the regional headquarters for Greater China. Additional Asia Pacific offices are in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, China; Jakarta, Indonesia; Tokyo, Japan; and Sydney, Australia. 
Compiled, edited and posted by: Jimmy Adesanya for ©thebrandradio 2016. All rights reserved.

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