Sport Chek and Sid Lee part ways, Rethink steps in

Rethink Communications takes over retailer's "All Sweat is Equal" campaign

Sport Chek has parted ways with its agency of record Sid Lee.

The retailer had been working with Sid Lee since 2011, when it hired the agency for a major rebrand that followed its acquisition by Canadian Tire. The agency continues to work on Canadian Tire-owned Marks.

Sid Lee’s architecture arm was also instrumental in Sport Chek’s “store of the future” concept, which brought digital elements to its retail experience. It led the brand’s creative up until its most recent major campaign, “All Sweat is Equal,” which launched in February.

The second phase of that campaign launches this week with creative by Rethink Communications. Sport Chek is now working with Rethink on a project basis, according to Frederick Lecoq, senior vice-president of marketing at FGL Sports and Marks.

Lecoq said Sport Chek has shifted away from the AOR model as its marketing needs change. Instead, it’s now using a mix of agencies and partners as content and digital play a bigger role. Rethink, he said, is a “primary” agency partner, but not an AOR. Moving forward Rethink will continue to work on the brand’s creative, along with several partners it has collaborated with in the past, like Notch Video and TSN.

“The AOR notion is a bit old fashioned,” Lecoq said. “Marketing has become so broad and so complex. It’s not one size fits all. I don’t see any agency that’s the swiss army knife.”

As the brand and its business has matured, Lecoq said Sport Chek has relied more on its entire bench of partners, each bringing different expertise from content production to digital marketing, PR, media and programmatic buying. When Sid Lee started working on Sport Chek back in 2011, he said the brand was much more focused on TV campaigns. As that has changed, it has slowly broadened its marketing plans and the mix of agencies it uses.

Lecoq added that the company hasn’t severed ties with Sid Lee completely. In addition to its work on Marks, the agency will continue to work with FGL in the Quebec market. He also praised the work the agency has done for Sport Chek over the years. “We’ve had a great relationship with Sid Lee. They’ve done amazing work for us,” Lecoq said.

The retailer has not sent out a formal RFP and Lecoq said it does not intend to. Instead, Sport Chek will continue to assess its agency partners on an ongoing basis.

Rethink’s first project for the brand was the Mother’s Day spot it released earlier this month.


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