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Once men-centric, Under Armour now marketing hard to women

Under Armour -- the company known for making boxer-briefs, sneakers and other workout gear for sweat-drenched men -- is now trying to boost favor with the female set.

The Baltimore sports clothier, endorsed by uber-manly quarterback Tom Brady, has given itself a hefty dose of estrogen with its “What’s Beautiful” marketing campaign.

With an online launch in April and new advertisements out now, the ambitious effort claims to be “redefining the female athlete.”

There’s a @UAWomen account on Twitter and a dedicated Facebook page (with plenty of pink) so that women, who are especially attracted to the sharing culture perpetrated on sites such as Pinterest, can swap impressions with other sporty gals.

The company introduced a new yoga collection this summer and has said it is redesigning its spoprts bras and underwear.

But Under Armour will have to fight the recent surge of brands dedicated to the female athlete, including Lululemon and Athleta.

Companies with a reputation for catering to dudes sometimes run into resistance when trying to bring women into the fold. Though sales of Lego’s new girl-focused Lego Friends sets have soared, feminists and other consumer advocates have criticized the products for reinforcing stereotypes.

So far, Under Armour doesn’t seem to have that problem. Perception of the brand among young women ages 18 through 34 has jumped recently, according to a gauge from YouGov BrandIndex.

Earlier this month, perception reached its highest level in nearly four years, according to YouGov. The index reached a score of 49 on a scale of minus-100 through 100.

A zero secore means that sentiment is equally positive and negative.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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