NEW YORK: Umbro had enjoyed a share of the US performance wear market before ceding voice to the fast-growing Adidas and Nikes of the 90s. Now the brand is staging its first US comeback with new soccer and lifestyle products and a New York-centric, multi-disciplinary marketing campaign.
Nike acquired the brand in late 2007 and has since been planning to reinvigorate it in the US by leveraging Umbro's heritage rooted in “football” culture and tailoring - its founders were English tailors – with the launch of the Diamond Icons spring/summer 2011 sportswear range. The collection targets both its core 16-24-year-old soccer player male and the non-soccer player consumer.
Also in its effort to expand the brand's positioning beyond performance wear to lifestyle and sportswear, the company designed uniforms and fan gear for the current reintroduction of the New York Cosmos soccer team in New York. It's supporting the efforts with edgy marketing.
The initiative includes a New York out-of-home advertising campaign launching in April, digital media, a Facebook page debut, Twitter promotion via @umbro_usa, and a seeding effort that began late last year amongst fashion, lifestyle, and soccer media.
“Umbro was a very popular performance soccer brand in the 80s and 90s and what happened was the brand went quiet for a while, fell off radar,” said Dan Alder, North America marketing director at Umbro. “The objective is to reposition the brand and make it relevant again for soccer consumers in the US.”
When Nike bought the brand, he added that it really had to map out an identity and new objectives to figure out “how it would play in the game.”
Alder said that the US repositioning is part of a global strategy, in line with a similar effort in key markets including the UK, EMEA, and China.
“Umbro is thrilled to introduce the new Diamond Icons range to the US. It marks a new era for a brand known for its rich history rooted in both football culture and tailoring,” he said in a more formal statement. “Diamond Icons provides us with the rare opportunity to speak to the next generation of Umbro fans.”
In January, the brand extended its relationship with Exposure PR, with which it has an ongoing relationship in the UK, by retaining the firm's US office.