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In Divisive Times, Dick’s Sporting Goods Finds Unity Through The Olympics

The brand’s ad strategy for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games capitalizes on the global attention of the event to spotlight a message of coming together.

In Divisive Times, Dick’s Sporting Goods Finds Unity Through The Olympics

By now you can almost set your watch to it: Every two years, expect a pretty damn good Olympic ad campaign from Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG). This boils down to the way the brand has carved out its place as a champion of and for amateur sports and athletes, and telling the story of not just sponsoring them, but giving them jobs.

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This year is no different. For the 2018 Winter Olympics, the brand has worked with agency Anomaly to roll out the next iteration of its popular “Contenders” campaign, which shines a spotlight on a few of the Olympians that also punch a time clock at a DSG store. But this week DSG is also rolling out a new ad that addresses the divisive times we live in, where the Olympics fit into that dynamic, and how we should all maybe stop yelling at each other just long enough to cheer on the same team.

Chief Marketing Officer Scott Hudler says that in a time when people are seemingly more divided than ever, they set out to deliver the message that sports make people better.

“We’re a company rooted in sport, so we are fortunate to see humanity at its best every single day on fields, rinks, courts, tracks, diamonds, gridirons, bleachers, and in locker rooms,” says Hudler. “Despite our differences, sports has the power to unite communities, countries, and the world. We’ll see that again over the 17 days of the Winter Olympics and wanted to deliver that message to consumers.”

Hudler says that given its reach, the Olympics are an ideal time to spread a message like this. “The Olympics are one of the few live, mass audience sports events that equally appeals to men and women and significantly broadens our consumer reach beyond our traditional media buy,” he says.  “It’s a major cultural water cooler moment in which we have the opportunity to play a significant role. When we gather to watch the Olympics, we are not divided, but rather united as Americans cheering on amazing athletes that are competing at the highest level.”

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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