As the 2014 Winter Olympics conclude, scandals erupt, giving the world something to talk about for another four years. The opening act was missing an Olympic ring, gold medals were lost, but my favorite was the allegation that Under Armor’s suits apparently caused the U.S. speedskating team to under perform… or so players alluded.
After their first race, the American team hinted that the #Mach39 suit vents, designed to release heat, were actually causing a drag. The team switched out the suits for an older model during their next race, but this did not improve their performance.
Under Armour had one of two choices: take the blame for a loss due to “their product not functioning properly”, or defend their quality product. Thankfully, they chose the latter.
Kevin Plank, UA’s CEO, insisted that the suits were top notch, but that the company would make every attempt possible to make improvements going forward. From a public relations standpoint, UA hit the nail on the head by defending their product in a humble, yet factually confident approach, while continuing to support the US team.
From a digital marketing perspective, Under Armour had the opportunity to do more outreach. The brand took the silent approach on social media, only addressing the speedskating contract extension on Facebook and Twitter. While some say bad press is still press, we like to look at bad press as an opportunity to leverage the attention for positive brand awareness. This day in age it is necessary to capitalize on this publicity across all digital channels, not just traditional outlets.
Next Winter Olympics, I can’t wait to see #UASuitsWinGold as one of the trending topics during the closing ceremonies! Until then, Mambo Media is here with open arms…