- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 24, 2005

Under Armour Performance Apparel is flexing more marketing muscle with an ad that is part of its “protect this house” campaign.

The Baltimore performance apparel company debuted a 90-second movie last week featuring Eric Ogbogu of the Dallas Cowboys and the intense “protect this house” catchphrase.

The ad is also a teaser for what is to come as Under Armour prepares to enter the footwear market in 2006.

The commercial, the third in a series, features Ogbogu’s character “Big E” from childhood through college to his current role leading Team Under Armour in its battle against Team Goliath on the football field.

At the end of the spot, the words “Click-Clack” appear, the sound of cleats on pavement can be heard and the image of a shoe is used to tease Under Armour’s new football cleats.

Since debuting in fall 2003, the campaign has generated more than 500,000 e-mails and phone calls from consumers.

“Under Armour’s ‘protect this house’ campaign has taken on a life of its own, resonating with athletes in a way we always knew was possible but was previously untapped,” said Steve Battista, vice president of marketing.

“Protect this house” has certainly received its share of attention.

The chant has become a part of athletes’ game-day rituals, referenced on ESPN’s SportsCenter, used during the Notre Dame chaplain’s pre-game talk with the Fighting Irish and even used by David Letterman during his “Late Show” on CBS.

Mr. Battista said the ads are about the Under Armour brand, not its products, which include a line of sports clothing that wicks perspiration away from athletes’ skin to keep them cool and dry.

The company spends about 10 percent of its revenue on advertising. Sales reached more than $200 million last year.

The ad will continue to run throughout the football season and will be supported by online and print ads.

Selling Fairfax

The Fairfax County Convention and Visitors Corp. (FCCV) selected Williams Whittle Associates of Alexandria as its advertising agency to help draw leisure and business travel to the county.

It’s the first ad agency for the nongovernment organization, which was established last year after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved $2 million in startup funding. FCCV derives its annual budget from part of a hotel tax increase that went into effect last July.

“There’s a lot of civic pride in Fairfax County,” said Arnie Quirion, FCCV’s president and chief executive officer. “People here know we have something special and want to be a part of promoting it.”

Williams Whittle will be responsible for developing the county’s brand. A large part of the marketing effort will direct visitors to FCCV’s Web site (www.visitfairfax.org), which will be revamped, Mr. Quirion said.

Closing up shop

Waveworks, a production house in McLean, is shutting its doors after 25 years.

The company, formerly known as Soundwave, will close next Monday, President Jim Harmon said in a letter to industry colleagues.

• Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884. Advertising & Marketing runs every other Monday.

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