- The Washington Times - Monday, September 2, 2002

A Baltimore-based performance apparel company is looking to expand its opportunities with a national television campaign.
Under Armour Performance Apparel, which has a line of sports clothing that pulls the perspiration away from athletes' skin to keep them cool and dry, debuted its first television commercial Saturday on ABC during the University of Maryland and Notre Dame football game.
Since the end of 1999, the company has had a heavy print-advertising presence appearing in magazines such as ESPN the Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Men's Health and Men's Journal.
The television ad is just a "natural progression" for the 7-year-old company, especially as it continues to compete against large companies such as Nike and Reebok, says Kevin Plank, Under Armour's founder and president.
The company spends about 10 percent of its revenue on advertising and is on pace to hit $60 million in sales by the end of the year an increase of $35 million from last year.
The company is the official supplier of performance apparel to Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the U.S. Ski Team. Under Armour's gear is worn by 30 National Football League teams, as well as high school and college athletes.
The 30-second, fast-paced ad features Eric Ogbogu, a former Maryland football player and current Cincinnati Bengals defensive end, sprinting and lifting weights at the university's football stadium and weight room.
"We can sell the emotion of one brand with a 30-second spot," Mr. Plank says.
The ad is scheduled to run over the next eight weeks, mainly during college football games on ESPN and ABC.
Fat ad challenges lawsuit
The Center for Consumer Freedom is responding with a big, fat ad in Newsweek to a lawsuit against fast-food restaurants for causing obesity.
The print ad, which appears in the magazine's issue today,features an overly hefty, bare-bellied man and poses the question: "Did you hear the one about the fat guy suing the restaurants?"
In July, a 270-pound New York man filed a lawsuit against four fast-food chains, saying the companies caused his obesity by posting inaccurate nutritional information and deceptively advertising their products.
The ad continues: "It's no joke. He claims the food was too cheap so he ate too much."
"This whole idea of suing restaurants [for being obese] is so outrageous," says Mike Burita, a spokesman for the Center for Consumer Freedom, a Washington-based coalition of more than 30,000 restaurant and tavern operators nationwide. "We felt the need for an outrageous response."
The ad directs people to "learn more about the erosion of personal responsibility and common sense" by going to the group's Web site at consumerfreedom.com.
Moving on from LM&O;
Ron Owens has retired from Laughlin, Marinaccio & Owens (LM&O;) to start a consulting firm.
Mr. Owens, an LM&O; founder and principal, officially left the 7-year-old, Arlington-based agency on Friday.
The plans to start his own firm have been in the works for more than eight months, and now they have "finally come to fruition," says Mr. Owens, citing his entrepreneurial spirit as the driving force behind the venture.
Ron Owens & Associates, with offices in Baltimore and Washington, will conduct multicultural marketing to help agencies win government accounts and will use a network of free-lancers to serve clients.
LM&O; will keep Mr. Owens' name, although he will not have any ties to the agency.
Mr. Owens resigned last month as president of the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington after 2 years at the helm. The Ad Club's first vice president, Lee Proctor of Waveworks Digital Media in Arlington, has taken over the position.

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