Under Armour’s ‘Protect This House’ campaign, which first rallied athletes two decades ago to defend their turf, returns in a new form, shifting focus to a mentality that’s bigger than going all-out for yourself, but for the team. When today’s athletes hit their breaking point, it’s their team that pushes them to keep going.
The purpose of this project was to explore how AI can create the most inspirational team talk of all time, designed to help team sport athletes be at their best physically and mentally. As the human performance company, Under Armour is always striving for the latest innovations in tech and apparel to make athletes better.
Team sport athletes are driven by their teammates and the desire to not let them down. When they face big challenges, they need to find the right ways to stay motivated. Research shows that AI is increasingly being used to help athletes stay motivated, and its emergence in the zeitgeist of society shows its popularity as a tool.
Together, we worked to leverage the power of AI to create ‘The Ultimate Team Talk’, an inspirational speech for the start of the European football season, harnessing the best possible language, sentence structure, cadence, and energy, designed to mentally prepare team sport athletes ahead of competition.
We used a combination of ChatGPT’s web interface to undertake prompt engineering and a bespoke copy tool built to enable an iterative approach through the individual stages of review.
Our exploratory search adopted a broad approach, combining a range of sports psychology academic literature sources to rapidly understand the problem space and tackle key technical uncertainties within the speech creation process.
To ensure our findings were grounded in real-world experiences, we also harnessed surveyed responses from UA athletes Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Laura Freigang (Eintracht Frankfurt), Alex Greenwood (Manchester City), Jayde Riviere (Manchester United), and Reuell Walters (Arsenal).
We set about developing a prompt we could use to create an initial draft of the speech. For the prompt, we distilled ‘The Ultimate Team Talk’ framework we developed during our research into a series of directions for the model. These were designed to ensure that the speech accurately reflected our research findings and aligned with our outcomes.
We also incorporated a number of constraints into the prompt to help guide the model. These included:
- Delivery Directions
We also asked the model to review and refine its own prompt to ensure the best possible results with the output.
Rather than just using the first results from the prompt, we interacted conversationally with the model to gradually shape the speech, mimicking the real-life approach of working on a written piece of text.
Together with Under Armour, we were able to harness innovative AI technology to create ‘The Ultimate Team Talk’ and prove that human-AI collaboration can fundamentally impact how athletes achieve peak performance.