Dancers Marketing Major Sports Brands

Dancers Marketing Major Sports Brands
Photo: Under Armour
If you haven't notice, there's a new trend emerging among major sports brands like Nike, Jockey, and Under Armour and it's their focus on using dancers as the face of their marketing campaigns. In the past we've seen the majority of these brands spotlighting athletes in football, basketball, and soccer, leaving out more untraditional athletic professions. The idea to shift attention to sports like dance not only increases their market base and creative expression, but it also helps put the age old assumption, that dance is not a sport, to bed. 

It's often been said that dancers make the best models and it's clear to see why. American Ballet Theater, one of three prestigious ballet companies in the US, made waves when, for the first time in their 75 year history, they promoted Misty Copeland, an African American woman, to the role of principal dancer. Copeland has since rose to legendary status for her humble nature and immense talent. Recognizing her strength and inspiration, Under Armour began to sponsor Copeland in 2014, an endorsement that paid more than her ballet career. The ad campaign born out of this union focused on women and has since become ad ledgen, earning Under Armour the award for the years "Best campaign targeting women" and "Top 10 ads of 2014" according to adweek

The remarkably talent and incredibly motivational Michaela DePrince recently became the face of Jockey's new campaign  "Show 'Em What's Underneath" celebrating everyday heroes, perseverance, and hope. DePrince's story of triumph is unlike most, overcoming many of life's most challenging circumstances. Born in war torn Sierra Leon, DePrince lost both her parents to war and starvation. After being left in an orphanage by her uncle, DePrince was ridiculed for having Vitiligo, a condition that causes the skin to lose its pigmentation. 

After being adopted by a Jewish couple from New Jersey, Michaela moved to the US and began training in ballet. Overcoming her challenges as an orphan, Vitiligo, and racism, Michaela rose to fame after being featured int the 2011 documentary First Position. Now dancing for the Dutch American Ballet as a soloist. Michaela story of perseverance and triumph are captured beautifully in Jockeys "Shoe 'Em" campaign. 

Nike's newest 2017 campaign, "Objects of Desire", focuses on 20 years of creative campaigns and features David Hallberg, American Ballet Theater pricipcal dancer. The campaign focuses on athletes at their best. 

Having been decommissioned for that past three years due to an ankle injury, Hallberg was quickly swooped up by Nike for this campaign shortly after announcing his return to the theater. 

Halberg recalls the shoot with Nike as particularly grueling, have been submerged underwater for long periods of time. But the dancers also explains that the shoot was metaphorical to his personal journey and struggles, on the way to recovery

"It was really perfect timing with Nike and with the collaboration to be able to express those feelings -- not just onstage but in an original kind of concept," he explains. "That's what Nike does so well: they have their eye on the ball, and they can represent [both] an athlete and an artist so honestly."

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