2014: Under Armour unveils ‘I Will What I Want’ ad starring ballerina Misty Copeland

To celebrate the Ad Club of New York's 120th anniversary, The Drum is inviting readers to share their favorite marketing moments from the past 120 years.

Today’s marketing moment was chosen by Kathy Delaney, global chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. Below, find out why Under Armour’s ‘I Will What I Want’ campaign is her favorite marketing moment.

In 2014, Under Armour, a brand that had long been known for portraying the ‘tough guy’ in its advertising, started a new conversation about how to market to female athletes with “I Will What I Want.”

The campaign’s first spot opened with a voiceover from a rejection letter saying “You have the wrong body for ballet,” as the camera panned over ballerina Misty Copeland’s sculpted muscles warming up and then as she performed on stage. It was a striking juxtaposition of grace and muscular strength that we hadn’t seen before in the advertising world.

Its authentic voice about what it means to be a female athlete immediately resonated and built equity with a segment of women who had been flocking to other athletic brands like Lululemon at the time. While Dove’s “Real Beauty” started a conversation about being beautiful in any shape, size or color, “I Will What I Want” was about showing women that they have the power to be whoever they want to be: If I want something, I will make it happen. And we continue to see its impact on the industry with the success of campaigns that have followed like “This Girl Can.”

See the full 120 Marketing Moments in the dedicated online section and find out how to purchase the exclusive book.

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