Back in March, Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) began its 2016 Summer Olympics marketing sponsorship with a commercial that celebrated American amateur athletes and Olympic contenders. But these athletes aren’t just contenders, they’re also DSG employees, part of an initiative that employs more than 200 athletes from 36 Olympic and Paralympic sports in 106 of its stores in 34 states across the U.S.
Now, the week before the opening ceremonies in Rio, the brand is unveiling the next phase of its Olympic marketing with “Gold in US,” an epic spot that tells us each and every human body contains 0.2 milligrams of gold. But it’s only a few that can dig deep enough to find it.
DSG vice-president of brand marketing Ryan Eckel says this new work is meant to shine a spotlight on our similarities, between elite athletes, amateur athletes, and everybody else, to illustrate what makes these Olympians special. “As we got to know our contenders over the past year and started to truly understand what it takes to make Team USA, both as an athlete and as a human being, we wanted to find a memorable and emotive way to honor their entire journey,” says Eckel. “We felt the fact that there is a small amount of gold in every human body was such a beautiful metaphor for what it takes to pursue an Olympic or Paralympic gold medal. It simultaneously speaks to us as individuals, and connects us as humans to something that feels much bigger than sports.”
The new marketing work includes four 30-second ad profiles of beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings (who also has a full-length doc on NBC, produced by DSG and Tribeca Digital Studios), gymnast Danell Leyva, fencer Daryl Homer, and diver Laura Ryan.
Eckel says there are three significant questions the brand asks itself before committing to an idea like this. “The first is whether the idea furthers our company’s core belief that sports make people better,” he says. “The second is whether the concept centers around a genuine, relevant, and meaningful insight about being an athlete. And the third question, which is usually the hardest, is how far beneath the surface can we take this idea? How much does it say beyond sports, to humanity in general? With ‘Gold in US,’ we feel very good about how it answers all three questions.”