Tom Brady Says 'Don't Be Like Me' In New Under Armour Ads

Millions of young athletes may aspire to be the GOAT. But in an inspiring new spot from Under Armour, NFL quarterback Tom Brady tells them, "don't be like me."

Called the "Athlete No One Saw Coming," the campaign starts with a letter written by Brady, read by actor Morgan Freeman. And the company says it's an effort to fuel self-confidence, urging kids to look beyond comparisons.

"Never let them call you the next Tom Brady," Freeman says. "When they call you the GOAT, tune it out. Compare yourself to nobody but the kid in the mirror."

The spot, created in-house, is running on Brady's and Under Armour's social channels. And it's scheduled to air when Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Dallas Cowboys for the season opener.



"Our athletes are at the center of all of our storytelling, and with Tom, this is such a moment in time," says Paul Nugent, Under Armour's senior vice president and global brand marketing and category. "He's so often discussed as the greatest of all time, and people talk about all sports this way -- the greatest high school player, the greatest college player. It can be destructive, especially around social media."

With this effort, he says Under Armour is underscoring "our commitment to make all athletes better."

Nugent acknowledges that Brady continues to be a polarizing character. On one hand, he's beloved for 22 years in the NFL, and seven Super Bowl wins. He leads the league in jerseys sold. Yet he's also routinely voted the NFL's most-hated player. And his February decision to retire, followed by his un-retirement six weeks later, has drawn plenty of scorn.

"Sport divides opinions," Nugent says. "We love that, and the beauty of this campaign is that it's not about Tom's career -- his exploits or what he's achieved. It's about his inspirational journey to becoming the best version of himself and how he hopes others will do that."

The new campaign comes amid struggles at Under Armour, with sales sputtering and profits tumbling. And it's yet to replace Patrik Frisk, who stepped down as CEO in May. It's also not a great time for the sneaker universe, as families grapple with inflation and shrinking amounts of discretionary income.

"We're all well aware of the macro challenges right now," he says. "That's why it's never been more important to commit to our brand story. We're staying true to our core, to make athletes better on their journey."

He tells Marketing Daily that linking the new effort to new athlete grants is part of that commitment. It's choosing ten athletes, between 14 and 17, to give $5,000 in grants, including an in-person performance experience at a UA campus and gear for a year.

The timing of the new work is important, too -- not just for the kickoff of the NFL's season, but for the millions of young athletes headed back into school sports, many after numerous COVID interruptions. "Kids are desperate to reengage with sports."

He says the campaign will continue to run through November when the league's first-ever game to be played in Germany when the Bucs face off against the Seattle Seahawks. "That provides us with another opportunity, taking the story to an audience that isn't as aware of Tom Brady."

And in the coming weeks, the effort will also engage other UA athletes. "This goes beyond just one sport. It's a truly athlete-centric point of view."

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