It’s all about the footwork in Under Armour’s It Comes From Below ad campaign. In the latest spot, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton—wearing Under Armour’s C1N cleats—uses nimble footwork to navigate a dark forest, but not before trucking a few trees into sawdust. The dark visuals are accompanied by a female voiceover, who turns out to be Newton’s mother Jackie. She narrates a section of the novel, Watership Down by Richard Adams, a 1972 classic about a group of rabbits on the run. The struggle of the rabbits as they relentlessly push through dangerous situations is a fitting metaphor for her son’s recent struggles as last season’s MVP is off to a dismal 1-3 start. In the ad, Jackie describes Cam as a “prince with 1,000 enemies.” Although the ad is powerful on its own, the campaign doesn’t stop here.
Under Armour is challenging Snapchat users to navigate Newton through his forest of obstacles (and wolves) in a game adaptation. The It Comes From Below game is available to Snapchat users in the US and Canada (60 million daily users), who can swipe up to play via advertisements or on Snapchat Discover. Users are encouraged to beat their previous score, as well as share the game with friends. In the first day running ads for the game, 20 percent of Snapchat users swiped up to play. Those who did spent an average of 78 seconds playing the game and 19 percent of users who played shared the game with one or more friends, per Snapchat. It Comes From Below will be available through October.
Under Armour’s latest creative efforts follows a successful ad campaign for Olympic sensation Michael Phelps, shot with a similarly dark cinematic style and message of determination. Newton’s Under Armour campaign is powerful, but in our experience, he believes every word.
“[Training to be a great quarterback is] just like you train to be great in anything else, you have to put your mind to it,” Newton told [a]listdaily in an exclusive interview in February just days before the Panthers lost in the Super Bowl 50. “First off, you’ve got to enjoy doing it and contrary to popular belief, you have to be enthused about doing it. If you’ve got those ingredients, you’ll be alright.”
Following Gatorade’s Serena Williams’ Match Point for Snapchat in August, games are proving to be a successful connection to sports fans. Gatorade’s title was the first multi-level Snapchat game ad and celebrated Williams’ career leading up to the U.S. Open.