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Under Armour’s Olympic-Sized Attempt at Damage Control

UA speed skating suit

Sure, it looks cute but what a drag. AmIRight?

Earlier this week, there was an international kerfuffle over Under Armour’s ingenuity and allegedly having a hand in the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Team sucking in Sochi. Although Shani Davis and Heather Richardson were trying to take the high road, be good craftsmen and not blame their tools, they took the road always traveled, wadded up the aerodynamic suit, dropped trow and blamed Under Armour.

Why? Back flap. Sounds like a problem for Weight Watchers, right?

Well, even the dietary wunderkinds there couldn’t help this foot-in-mouth disorder. The clothing maker was stumbling upon many tongues to figure out how to spin its way out of this. And now, it found a hero … actually, a heroine. She is the betrothed to Eldred Woods, U.S. injured downhill skier Lindsey Vonn.

Wait, what?

You see, Lindsey Vonn is also a card-carrying member of Team Under Armour and because she is being paid a fat wad of cash she loves the brand so much, she decided that she couldn’t take the hate any longer. So, she tweets this:

Now, certainly this tweet was completely unexpected by Under Armour and its PR team, right? Yeah, and Tiger Woods likes black chicks. Ask Lindsey. She knows. Naturally, her tweet wouldn’t carry that much weight if she wasn’t hurled into the limelight by playing caddy to Tiger, but nonetheless, there it is in all its glory.

Granted, the PR mojo needs a little more juice, so Under Armour calls upon the most decorated Olympic athlete in history, Mr. Michael Phelps. After hurling a Subway sammich down his gullet, I’m sure did this right before the belch:

Because the hashtag just screams, “I came up with that on my own.” This we-got-ya-back mentality from paid heartfelt endorsers seemed a little fishy, so AdAge made a few phone calls.

Matt Mirchin, UA’s exective VP of global marketing, confirmed UA had “conversations” with endorsers about defending the company’s performance products. Others came to the company on their own due to the negative headlines coming out of Sochi, he said.

“It’s great to see the support that we’re getting from professional athletes that have worn our product and won medals in it, or championships while competing at the highest levels, as well as consumers who have reached out to us to saying what a shame this is and how unjustified this is,” said Mr. Mirchin. “I think the consumer — and the public — know it’s not the suits.”

Yes, Matt. And if the consumer truly knew that it wasn’t the suit, they certainly wouldn’t care that you are digging in the greatest hits for validation either, right? I thought so.

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