Gisele Bundchen is one of the new faces of the Under Armour athletic brand, joining ballerina Misty Copeland, tennis player Sloane Stephens, skier Lindsey Vonn and others in the effort — called I Will What I Want — to reach a female market. The five-year, $25 million contract is the largest of her career so far. And an interesting choice given Bundchen’s career in fashion and beauty, with contracts spanning Victoria’s Secret, Pantene shampoo and Versace.
Under Armour announced that it was going to launch its first global campaign targeting women back in June. The $15 million effort is meant to help grow the company’s sales in women’s apparel. Under Armour sells $500 million per year in merchandise, about a third of it in women’s gear.
But there are some who are anti-Gisele for this gig, mostly because she’s a supermodel and not an athlete.
Gisele and Under Armour aren’t taking the criticism lying down.
Rather, the brand is hitting back with a sub-site that shows Gisele kicking the crap out of a punching bag while the online comments — both good and bad — flash behind her.
“Most women at a certain point in their life encounter contradicting opinions, expectations, praise and criticism. Having lived her life in the public eye since she began modeling at 16, Gisele knows what it means to focus inward in order to beat the noise and achieve her own goals,” said Leanne Fremar, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director, Under Armour Women’s in a press release. “Along with scaling to the heights of her profession as a model and a global fashion icon, she’s an incredibly athletic woman, dedicated to her practice of martial arts and yoga.”
As Jezebel points out, Bundchen does know how to sell some clothes, so there’s that. And to sell those clothes, she does indeed need to be fit. If you’re going to add a little glamour to a women’s athletic campaign, of all the models, Gisele Bundchen and maybe Adriana Lima would be the two to choose.
“Having the strength to tune out negativity and remain focused on what I want gives me the will and confidence to achieve my goals,” said Bundchen. As a model, she’s probably very familiar with close scrutiny of her body.
But would you hire a male model to sell Under Armour’s men’s line? Probably not. But it’s typical for male models to be on the thin side, not the typical look for a men’s athletic wear company. Bundchen is sporting a six-pack in that sub-site.
Either way, Under Armour got major buzz from the selection and they’ve found a way to capitalize on the negative chatter. So their choice is already paying dividends.