Bryce Harper Sweats the Numbers in His Snazzy New Under Armour Ad (and Shoes)

But they're not the endgame

Stats might be a big deal in baseball, but four-time all-star Bryce Harper wants young players to know there's something more important—their feet.

Under Armour is out with a new campaign from Droga5 titled "It Comes from Below," promoting the brand's shoes. It launches this week with an ad for the Washington Nationals' new namesake Harper One cleats (which, naturally, the Nats' right fielder will be wearing at Tuesday night's All-Star Game).

In the commercial, Harper stands at the plate in an empty field, practicing his swing. The voiceover (by Harper's high school coach, Sam Thomas) rattles off his impressive accomplishments by the numbers—precocious gains as a teenager, impressive averages, a unanimous MVP selection—all while his bat cracks against the ball again and again, punctuating each data point.

The score crescendos, his practice intensifies along with his internal monologue, the pressure might even seem to be getting to him, except for one simple fact—it's that thwacking sound that he loves more than any quantifiable accomplishment, and he has his stance (now clad in flashy new black-and-gold Under Armour money makers) to thank for it.

The intense discipline and solitude of the superstar athlete is anything but a new tack for sports marketing. A similar dynamic helped drive Under Armour and Droga5's Michael Phelps ad to a Film Craft Grand Prix at Cannes last month. But that basic trope is executed pointedly here.

The frenetic pace, the doubt and the repetition give way to a sense of quiet born of a pure love for playing the game at the highest level—even if the numbers-soup metaphor does get pushed to the verge of comical, with stadium seat and section numbers entering Harper's mental fray.

Future installations in the campaign, coming this fall, will feature Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. And the basic premise of the campaign—that greatness starts with solid footwork—is hard to argue with, even if it's a little grounded for an advertisement.


Client: Under Armour

Campaign: It Comes From Below

Title: Numbers

Agency: Droga5 NY

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer

Group Creative Director: Felix Richter

Group Creative Director: Alexander Nowak

Copywriter: Bryan Wolff

Art Director: Daniel Sumarna

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Executive Producer: David Cardinali

Associate Producer: Troy Smith

Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer

Head of Strategy: Harry Roman

Strategy Director: Sam Matthews

Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy

Communications Strategy Director: Hillary Heath

Communications Strategist: Kathryn Ruocco

Strategist: Newman Granger

Senior Data Strategist: Anthony Khaykin

Group Account Director: Julian Cheevers

Account Director: Bola Adekoya

Account Supervisor: Lucy Santilli

Senior Project Manager: Courtney Kosup

Project Manager: Connor Hall

Client: Brand/company name

CEO and Founder: Kevin Plank

Chief Marketing Officer : Kip Fulks

SVP, Global Brand Management: Adrienne Lofton

SVP, Global Communications: Diane Pelkey

VP, Global Creative: Brian Boring

VP, Global Consumer Engagement: Jim Mollica

Senior Category Director: Jim Bel Bruno

Director, Global Marketing Operations, Process & Integration : Teresa Oles

Production Companies: Somesuch + Anonymous

Director : Aoife McArdle

Found Partner, Somesuch: Sally Campbell

Found Partner, Somesuch: Tim Nash

Managing Director, Anonymous: Eric Stern

Executive Producer, Anonymous: SueEllen Clair

Producer: Laurie Boccaccio

DOP: Steve Annis

Production Manager : Yianni Papadopoulos

Editorial: Final Cut

Editor:: Dan Sherwen

Cutting Assitant (NY):: Geoff Hastings

Assistant Editor (UK):: Leila Gaabi

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@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.