Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is no stranger to music. He has performed on the Moana soundtrack and appeared in films alongside Nick Jonas and Ludacris. However, the actor and entrepreneur claim that his most recent project is his most musically inspired yet. Under Armour has always been known for its Under Armour t-shirts and sports apparel. However, it became even more well-known after Dwayne Johnson’s appearance. Dwayne Johnson’s endorsement deal with Under Armour has been named the best-matched celebrity-brand partnership in the fashion and retail industries.
A list published on Friday by research firm Spotted rates celebrity endorsements out of 100, taking into account factors such as public perception, whether the star’s audience overlaps with the brand’s in terms of age, gender, income, and location, and how risky a celebrity’s behaviour may be.
Tommy Hilfiger’s collaboration with model Winnie Harlow comes in second with a score of 97.2, followed by Crate and Barrel’s collaboration with actress Reese Witherspoon, which receives a score of 96.1.
Johnson, also known as “The Rock,” began his collaboration with Under Armour in January 2016. According to an Instagram post on Johnson’s account, a Project Rock 1 sneaker released in May 2018 sold out in less than 24 hours. He also appeared in Under Armour’s “Will Finds A Way” advertising campaign, which debuted in April.
Johnson and Under Armour have released “The Iron Paradise Tour,” their latest Project Rock collection. According to Under Armour, the men’s and women’s workout apparel and accessories are inspired by classic rock and roll and The Rock’s love of music. Under Armour’s Iron Paradise Tour, with the mantra “strength is a state of mind,” “emphasizes music’s ability to impact your attitude, mindset, and drive.” Music dispels doubt and drowns out background noise, allowing you to break through barriers.”
Johnson created a workout playlist for the new launch that includes motivational hits like “Black Betty” by Ram Jam, “Killing In The Name” by Rage Against The Machine, and “Rock & Roll Band” by Boston. The playlist, now available on Spotify, also includes a new song, “Get Up On My Level” It is co-written by recording artist/songwriter Lauren Hashian.
Meanwhile, the accompanying campaign shows Johnson and skier Lindsey Vonn powering through their workouts at the gym while wearing the new Iron Paradise gear. T-shirts, jackets, tank tops, shorts, and leggings are available in men’s and women’s sizes. There are also a new waterproof workout bag/backpack hybrid and new colors of Project Rock’s best-selling PR3 sneaker.
Johnson said in an Instagram post promoting the line that the new collection represents a collective “Covid comeback,” and that it’s time to “rebound back into the gyms and back into the swing and sweat of life.”
“He represents very little risk, he has an incredibly high audience match with the Under Armour customer base, and as a result he has very high resonance, recognition, and trust scores — they believe him, relate to him, and trust him,” Spotted founder and CEO Janet Comenos told CNBC over the phone.
Johnson’s new collection is part of his ongoing “Project Rock” collaboration with Under Armour, including face masks and wireless headphones. UnderArmour.com is now selling the Iron Paradise Tour collection. Prices for sweat-wicking socks range from $13 to $140 for the PR3 sneaker.
NBA star Stephen Curry’s partnership with Under Armour ranks 13th on the list, with a score of 89.2. Curry wore Nike shoes when he first entered the NBA in 2009, but he switched to Under Armour in 2013 in a four-year deal worth $4 million per year.
Curry’s shoe line with Under Armour was predicted to sell more than LeBron James’ Nike footwear in 2016, with $160 million versus $150 million, but Under Armour’s market share in the United States has recently declined.
According to MarketWatch, brands spend a lot of money hiring celebrities to endorse their products, with an estimated $35 billion spent in the United States alone in 2017. However, with big names come significant risks. For example, the 2009 scandal that involved golfer Tiger Woods’ car crash and several alleged affairs. It cost sponsors Gillette, Gatorade, AT&T, and Accenture their involvement with him at the time and cost management company IMG $4.6 million in fees.
Rag & Bone is ranked fourth in the Spotted list for its collaboration with “plus-size” model Ashley Graham, who works for the company. It received a score of 96 even though the collaboration was criticised because the fashion line’s jeans were initially unavailable in larger sizes. It has since been confirmed to Teen Vogue magazine that the apparel sizes of its most popular products will be expanded beginning in November.
This public relations snafu hasn’t changed people’s perceptions of the company’s partnership with Graham, according to Comenos. “It was dealt with fairly quickly, and it gave consumers a reason to trust her and the brand more,” she told CNBC.
Gal Gadot’s ads for Reebok’s “Be More Human” campaign also performed well, ranking eighth with a score of 92.8. According to Spotted, there is a strong correlation between the people that Gadot influenced and Reebok’s audience. The brand did well to hire her after searches and social media mentions peaked in March 2018 after an Academy Award.
When done correctly, products endorsed by or named after celebrities can pay dividends. In 2014, Harvey Keitel, reprising his well-known character from the film “Pulp Fiction,” helped U.K. insurance company Direct Line turn its business around by starring in its advertisements as fixer Winston Wolf.
According to marketing director Mark Evans, the company was experiencing double-digit declines in 2013. But by 2016, it was growing at a rate of 31%, thanks in part to its celebrity marketing campaign.
“This is by far the most significant and effective thing we’ve done… “What we’ve done is take a truly fundamental concept of a celebrity talking about product features and turn it into something epic and (into) much larger storytelling,” he told CNBC over the phone.
Comenos founded Spotted after interviewing chief marketing officers about how they chose celebrities for campaigns, discovering that they either went with gut instinct, relied on agencies that already had a relationship with a star, or because a spouse or child had a connection with the famous face.
The ranking incorporates qualitative consumer research and audience data from websites. It also looks at social media posts to see if they are positive or negative.
There must be a reason why Dwayne Johnson and Under Armour’s collaboration was so successful. Under Armour holds a wide range of apparel, from their Under Armour polo shirts to sports shoes. With Johnson’s large following, it is no surprise that their collaboration went well. Following the trend of custom polo shirts and polo tee printing, maybe Johnson could endorse customized polo shirts next?