Sport Chek launched a new television commercial over the weekend featuring Sidney Crosby and the retailer’s new brand message “Your Better Starts Here.”
The 30-second spot from Toronto agency Sid Lee shows the Pittsburgh Penguins’ centre during a grueling training session.
“We resisted the temptation to just go do the big ice thing,” said Duncan Fulton, chief marketing officer at FGL Sports Group, which owns the sports retail chain.
Questions about Crosby’s performance persist after he missed a number of games in the 2011-2012 NHL season due to the lingering effects of his concussion.
To remain true to the brand’s focus around authenticity and inspiration, Fulton said it was important to show Crosby behind the scenes striving to be even better than he was before.
The video ad starts in slow motion, picking up details like the bend in Crosby’s necklace and beads of sweat on his neck. It then speeds up towards the end – it’s a creative formula Sport Chek will follow “for at least a couple of years,” said Fulton.
“Every time you see a Sport Chek spot, you’ll begin to recognize the feel of it,” he said.
In the days to come, Sport Chek will also launch a brand anthem that highlights a range of sports including soccer, skiing, track, swimming and football.
Fulton said 25% of Sport Chek’s total marketing budget is now dedicated to strictly promoting the brand with initiatives like the brand anthem spot, which is up from less than 5% previously.
Each sport featured in the commercial has been cut down into 15-second online pre roll videos as well as full-page print ads and posters.
Although Sport Chek ran online videos on YouTube of a soccer stunt filmed in Toronto last spring, this is the first multiplatform campaign it has launched since Canadian Tire purchased the Forzani Group or $771-million last summer.
At a recent event in Toronto, Sport Check announced it had signed Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie for a two-year partnership that includes advertising and promotions.
At the time, Fulton told Marketing that Lawrie would soon be featured in online digital ads, alluding to a video shoot that had taken place that morning.
Shortly there after, Lawrie started responding to a random selection of tweets with 30-second videos. Some of the tweets had been directed at him, while others mentioned the Toronto Blue Jays or referenced fitness in general.
For instance, @fitcheerldr tweeted, “Something to keep in mind this week: There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
In his video response, Lawrie agreed with her comment to a point: “When you squat 350 you can take an escalator,” he said.
Each video ends with the Sport Chek logo and can be found on the retailer’s YouTube channel. Sport Chek’s PR agency North Strategic handled the effort.
In addition to Lawrie and Crosby, Sport Chek’s sponsorship team is currently pursuing “more than a handful of deals” with potential partners, said Fulton. In every case, there is a series of brand filters that the prospective partner must meet, he said.
“In some cases a few deals didn’t meet our brand filters, so we walked away from it and other ones we identified teams, athletes, properties and events we want to be associated with,” said Fulton.
“I think in 2013 you will see a lot more branded content coming from Sport Chek,” he said. “You will see a lot more partnerships with other major sports organizations and sports brands and you’ll see a lot more content digitally, in-store.”