Team Player

Reading Brandweek today, I noticed Under Armour is making a big push in their marketing to women efforts with their latest campaign, “Protect This House.  I Will.”  Adrienne Lofton, senior marketing director of their women’s business, is quoted in Brandweek as saying, “[the campaign] aims to get beyond the message that this brand is the best in the world in performance training…” and change their target’s current perception of Under Armour as their “boyfriend’s brand.”  The campaign, which includes a facebook page and several TV spots featuring well-known female athletes (including Lindsey Vonn, my girl crush), will no doubt meet that goal, and generate a lot of buzz while they’re at it.  Everyone loves to see strong women kicking ass (especially when they’re wearing hot gear).  But looking closer at the core message of the campaign, I think they’ve also touched on something really unique…the emotional power of ‘the team’. 

We know from other categories (and from being women ourselves!)  that one of the most effective ways to connect with women is by touching on and understanding their relationships.  Women make deep connections—for validation, information, support.  Under Armour took this insight and applied it to sports, which works beautifully.  For women, teams aren’t just a way to showcase their individual ability, they’re the whole reason to compete.   They recognize the whole as bigger than the parts.   The success of a team is bigger than if it’s an individual win.  The loss hurts less, because you know there are other people that feel exactly the same way you do.  There is this group that can relate to you completely, no matter what your emotion is.  In my opinion, women are able to slip into that universal mindset and sync up with their teammates more effectively than their male counterparts, because that’s what they’re used to doing in their day to day lives.

Well done, Under Armour.  It will be interesting to watch the reactions.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch the spot for the 6th time today.  Love that Lindsey!

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Her Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Last night Canadian skater Joannie Rochette placed third on the ice, but won the hearts of every woman watching. Her mom died of a heart attack just two days before, never to see her stunning performance. Despite the emotional turmoil, Rochette skated with every ounce of her strength. But to me, it all came down to the end of her performance, her face looking into the crowd, scanning the stands, knowing for the first time that the woman behind her, wasn’t there to see.

This blog is about marketing, so I could easily defer to a tribute to P & G for their beautifully done and prescient “Thanks, Mom” Olympics campaign. But this one is personal. 

For those lucky women who had a great relationship with their moms, there is nothing sadder than that first moment when she’s not there to cheer anymore. My friend Ellyn Spragins who’s written the terrific series of books, “Letters to my Younger Self”, told of the first time she was interviewed on TV after losing her mom. She told me how her mom’s was always the first call she’d get to tell her she did a great job. The silence was deafening.

I know that feeling. Three years ago, a month after I lost my mom, I was interviewed on GMA, ironically talking about a piece I’d written for MORE magazine about how daughters can cope with talking to their elderly parents about health and aging. I remember coming off the set and thinking that my mom, who always left the first voice message telling me she loved my dress or my answers, wasn’t there to call. As women, there’s a part of us who’s still the girl who needs to hear it from mom.  When your baby takes its first step, you get the promotion or get over a disappointment, you’ll want her to know.

Today is my mom’s birthday. And for Joannie and Ellyn and all the women who miss the one who applauded the loudest, I say this. She’s still watching and smiling. In her eyes, you’ll always win the gold.

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December 2, 2021
by Mary Lou Quinlan

A look at an early production of WORK

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The God Box Goes Global!

“The God Box” has grown to include an app, audio book, philanthropic venture and solo show performed by Mary Lou across the US. Now The God Box Project goes global to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
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