Under Armour's ad featuring Michael Phelps has been viewed 7.7 million times on YouTube and is now the fifth most shared Olympic ad of all time. Why? It's not simply because Phelps is insanely impressive, as is his training routine. As data from Unruly reported by Adweek demonstrates, millennials aged 18 to 34—and male millennials in particular—usually resonate with an ad if they find it inspiring. Some 47% of viewers and 68% of millennial men said they felt inspired watching Phelps' ad from agency Droga5. Phelps probably did, too, since he teared up when he saw it for the first time.
The ad itself is fairly dark in color, which is parlayed into the proclamation at the end that "It's what you do in the dark that puts you in the light." (Cue the goosebumps.) "I think people connect with this film because it paints hard work and sacrifice with beautiful strokes, but does so in a way that is raw and real about what it takes to win," says a Droga5 rep. It depicts some intense-looking exercises, a lot of sweat, and "extraordinarily painful-looking sessions of cupping therapy," notes Adweek, backed by an emotive track from The Kills. Michelle McGahan at Bustle agrees: It "[reminds] us all that training for the Olympics is no joke." (The ad shows Phelps cupping.)