Cary Williams has made a career out of combat. She opened a Santa Monica boxing club, The Stables, and developed a reputation as a professional boxing coach. Her latest bout pits her against a corporate heavyweight over the use of a social media marketing campaign.

Williams is currently accusing well-known fitness and sport company Under Armour of using her idea on their social media campaign, #ImPretty.

Williams created her Too Pretty brand in late 2015 with a few lines of t-shirts and halter tops. Then in 2016 she took her brand to social media, calling it #Nevertoopretty.

“The campaign consisted of us taking images of girls and women holding a sign that stated what they were never to pretty to do or be,” said Williams. “We posted images on Instagram and all social media.”

Williams describes the campaign as very organic and authentic.

On March 7, Under Armour released their new social media campaign. #ImPretty. To many viewers the similarities are shocking and caused an uproar on their Instagram account.

“You’re ‘pretty’ guilty of plagiarism @underarmour. You’re betraying the support and credit that you should be giving to the woman, small business owner @tooprettybrand and professional trainer who started the @nevertoopretty campaign several years ago,” said known2sun.

Another user added, “Are you serious @underarmour??? First you give to the corrupt, now you steal from the creative? This concept belongs to @tooprettybrand (&has for years) #prettylame,” said leahkitty.

Both companies promote female empowerment on social media. Their goal is to encourage women and girls all around to fight and change the stigma of female athletes ‘needing’ to be pretty.

There are not only similarities in the campaign itself, but also with an athlete sponsorship. Olympic athlete, Mikaela Mayer, has worked with both companies.

A professional boxer, Mayer posted a photo of herself advocating the #nevertoopretty movement two days before leaving to the Rio Olympics sending the message she is never too pretty to throw a punch.

Not long after the Olympics she was signed by Under Armour, and worked with their #ImPretty campaign.

“After the multiple comments on their social media and mine, Under Armour emailed me and said everything I was doing was awesome, and they said their campaign is independent of what I am doing,” said Williams.

Williams said she wants to work out some sort of agreement with Under Armour. The company stands strong by their unique and independent campaign.

“At Under Armour, we aim to celebrate and inspire the strong female spirit. With the #ImPretty campaign, we wanted to challenge the idea of ‘just a pretty face’, recognizing that beauty runs much deeper than what is visible from the outside,” said Attica Jaques, Vice President, Brand Management at Under Armour.

Williams is thankful for the support she has from the local community and her social media campaign. At the end of the day her goal is to have the campaign grow and to bring awareness to girls and women all over.

“I want every female to feel as if they can accomplish anything, and they can do whatever it is they want,” said Williams.

marina@smdp.com

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