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Most Innovative Companies

Under Armour

It all started with a T-shirt. Sports apparel company Under Armour's founder and CEO Kevin Plank was tired of sweating through his shirts while playing football at the University of Maryland, and he figured he could create a garment that would keep him dry. Months later, he had come up with the first piece of Under Armour Heatgear--and his first team outfitting contract. Twenty years later, his company is having a stellar run—the result of aligning itself with breakout athletes at just the right time, using technology to reach customers where they hang out, and employing messaging that exposes the heart of the brand. The brand’s first major campaign--"Rule Yourself"--debuted in 2015 and featured NBA MVP Stephen Curry, Super Bowl champ Tom Brady, and history-making ballerina Misty Copeland. And the Droga5-crafted "I Will What I Want" campaign, which featured model Gisele Bundchen punching a heavy bag surrounded by real-time social media comments about the brand, won the Grand Prix award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Apparently, those campaigns are paying off--Under Armour posted its first billion-dollar quarter last year, and it has become the number two player in the sports apparel industry, beaten only by veteran brand Nike.
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