He’s not an MVP of a particular sport, but he’s the heavyweight champion of international box office sales. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson getting a sportswear deal might not have made sense to some when it was announced back in January, but Under Armour is already starting to reap the benefits.
“We really had to force ourselves to think outside the parameters of what athletes have always been and find people, like The Rock, that make a whole lot of sense for this brand,” said Adrienne Lofton, Under Armour’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing. “The fact that The Rock can make an 8-year old girl scream, as well as a 45-year-old man is the brand love that we want to deliver.”
UA wasn’t able to keep The Rock’s first three #ProjectRock capsule products in stock. Although the early releases have only been a bag and t-shirts, a training sneaker is coming up on the docket.
How did this partnership happen in the first place? As it turns out, The Rock is a long-time friend of Under Armour and its founder/CEO Kevin Plank. “The Rock is interesting because we’ve had a relationship with him for years,” Lofton said. “If you ever look back at old footage, he’s always in Under Armour and he’s always been a great friend of Kevin’s.”
Even though The Rock isn’t a pro athlete per se, Lofton said bringing him onto the brand in an official capacity was a no-brainer. Having someone with a gigantic following in their corner gives the brand more ammunition against Nike and adidas. His Instagram boasts almost 49 million followers, which is more than double that of LeBron James and 10 times that of Kobe Bryant.
“In essence, The Rock’s social platform is its own media channel. When someone like that loves your brand, he shouldn’t just be a friend of the brand, he should be a part of the brand,” Lofton said. “That’s what we started to look at in 2016, and we’re going to continue to add to that side to that side of the roster.”