Whiplash Team / Francesca Cordido, September 15th 2023

Under Armour revolutionizes sports branding using Artificial Intelligence

In its latest campaign Under Armour has teamed up with artificial intelligence (AI) to create something truly impressive.

Just about a month ago, Under Armour, the iconic sports apparel and equipment brand, took a bold step in sports branding by combining artificial intelligence (AI) with human talent in its latest campaign titled “The ultimate team talk.”

The initial goal of the campaign seemed simple but was ambitious: to create the ultimate motivational speech just in time for the start of the European football season.

To achieve this, the sports brand enlisted the British agency The Space Between and the Anglo-American company Hedgehog Lab. Additionally, Under Armour decided to incorporate AI into its creative team. The choice was the ChatGPT 4.0 language model, used to generate an inspiring speech designed to resonate with sports teams worldwide.

Technology and inspiration

But to create the most inspiring motivational speech in the history of sports, Under Armour combined AI with a series of key inputs:

On one hand, they tapped into the experience of elite footballers sponsored by the brand, such as Antonio Rudiger from Real Madrid, Trent Alexander-Watson from Liverpool, and Alex Greenwood from Manchester City. These athletes shared their thoughts on what motivates them and the memorable speeches of their coaches.

On the other hand, real and cinematic motivational speeches were analyzed. Also, Paul Winsper, Vice President of Sports Performance at Under Armour, conducted an extensive review of sports psychology literature.

The 12 elements

All this information was used to identify “twelve elements likely to enhance the effectiveness of a pre-game talk delivered by a coach or captain in a team sports environment,” the brand reported on its website.

Among these elements are concepts such as ‘The team is everything,’ ‘Courage and determination,’ ‘Growth mindset,’ and ‘The energy of the weak.’ These elements served as the starting point to feed ChatGPT.

The human touch

But here’s the crux of the matter: Under Armour didn’t let AI do all the work. The system received instructions on the tone and duration of the speech, refining the text generated by AI in collaboration with sports enthusiasts. The AI-generated text underwent multiple internal revisions until the final speech was perfected.

To bring the speech to life, they chose the talented British actor and director Ashley Walters. He had the freedom to interpret the text in his own style, adding a human and emotional touch to the message.

The result

This innovative collaboration’s result is an exciting video, which in its full version lasts 1 minute and 50 seconds. The video replicates a scene we’ve seen in countless sports broadcasts, documentaries, and movies: a coach delivering a passionate speech to lift the spirits of their team.

With this experiment, Under Armour has demonstrated how artificial intelligence can be effectively used in the world of sports branding, showcasing the importance of collaboration between AI and human talent to create a lasting emotional impact on the audience.

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