When he’s not swimming his way into the Olympic record books, we’ve mostly seen Michael Phelps in jolly celebrity mode. Bong hits. Dropping his trousers at college basketball games. He’s a fun-loving guy who has endeared himself to sports fans not only thorough his skills but his smile and self-awareness. But this striking new Under Armour ad reminds everyone just how serious Phelps is.
Part of the second phase of its Rule Yourself campaign, by agency Droga5, it’s the third ad following earlier commercials starring the U.S. women’s gymnastics team and Manchester United star Memphis Depay. It’s an early start to hype Olympians, but when we spoke to Under Armour’s senior vice president of global brand marketing Adrienne Lofton about the campaign when it first launched, that aligns perfectly with the tagline “It’s what you do in the dark that puts you in the light.” By focusing on the gymnasts and Phelps now, it only highlights the hard work and sacrifice it takes to achieve once the Games begin.
The brand also filmed Phelps first reaction to the spot.