Advertising, Sportswear Brands, and Wearable Technology

by Mark Tungate , MAYDREAM

Technology is improving our physical performance, but thankfully we don’t have to look like The Terminator.

The first inkling that technology was about to improve our sporting prowess probably came with the Nike Fuel Band way back in 2012. Since then, a combination of wearable technology, mobile apps and social networks have revolutionized fitness.

All over the world, sports enthusiasts are using apps to monitor their achievements – at the gym, on their daily run, on the ski slopes – set goals and compete with their community via social networks.

One of the coolest brands around right now is Under Armour, founded in 1996, which has grown to become the second largest sportswear company in the US after Nike. Part of its success lies with its choice of unusual brand ambassadors, notably the dancer Misty Copeland.

But Under Armour has also been investing heavily in fitness tech. According to a recent article in US magazine Fast Company’s Co.Create online channel, the brand’s Connected Fitness community now has 147 million members and counting. In Europe, Under Armour owns the fitness tracking app Endomondo.

Even adventurous types who love the great outdoors are staying connected. In the United States, Vail Resorts – the Colorado ski resort – used the Adobe Marketing Cloud to improve the experience of visitors. It created EpicMix, an app that enables users to get snow reports and – of course – track their skiing performance. It works using a chip embedded in their ski passes. This season, it will also provide real-time information about the queues for ski lifts.

We haven’t yet mentioned cyclists – how about something for them? Everyone knows that Google Maps has made finding your way around cities much easier. But it’s tricky to check your phone and pedal at the same time. Enter the Hammerhead navigation device, from R/GA. Based on runway landing lights, it’s a gadget that attaches to your handlebars.

Not all technology related to active pursuits is complex. Here’s a simple but useful idea from outerwear brand The North Face and Y&R Manila. It’s a print ad that turns into a lamp – allowing explorers to plot their route at the dead of night, even in the most remote locations.

Of course, some sports fans may despair at the intrusion of technology into their physical lives. Hence this satirical spot from last year, which introduces the decidedly analogue “Rooband”.