Sport Chek goes loud with Olympic disclaimer

The retailer has invested half of its media spend on delivering a "warning" during the first day of the games.

Sport Chek is vying to win the PyeongChang Olympics through a major media spend during the first 24 hours of the games, which start today.

The sports retailer began teasing the latest iteration of its “What It Takes” campaign on TV social and digital in early January, slowly building presence ahead of the games’ opening ceremonies. The brand has planned a huge TV play – accounting for 50% of its total media spend – through which it hopes to reach 65% of Canadians more than five times during a 24-hour window.

“We wanted to find that opportunity to really disrupt. For us, it made sense to really break through amongst all the other partners during this time, and to own that moment, own that window,” says Sport Chek’s Erika DeHaas, AVP of marketing.

The retailer partnered with Anomaly on creative, which includes a main campaign spot produced by Elastic, the production house whose work includes the title sequences of Game of Thrones, Westworld and True Detective. It worked with Touché on media and Weber Shandwick on PR.

To kick off the campaign, Sport Chek has deployed its main, minute-long TV ad en masse. The spot begins with a slow scrolling warning reminding viewers that “activities associated with the Olympic Winter Games can at times involve substantial risk.” Named “Disclaimer,” the ad enumerates the many dangers of Olympic sports, dramatizing the courage of high-performance athletes who face those risks head-on.

During the next phase of the campaign, the brand will focus on showcasing the stories of the athletes themselves through creative that is less symbolic but still designed to have the same look and feel as “Disclaimer.”

These are the “What It Takes” campaign’s third Olympics. The platform began with a more traditional play during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi that focused on the strength and determination of the athletes. In Rio two years later, Sport Chek changed its strategy with a real-time effort designed to keep its content as fresh as possible and capitalize on the things Canadians were most excited about.

The brand is running dynamic out-of-home in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto in high-traffic areas, according to DeHass. The ads showcase unique content focused on the dangers of mixing speed with relatively little protection. For instance, a bobsled-themed ad will target drivers in areas where they may be driving 65 km per hour. Bobsled athletes can travel at “150 km per hour in what is essentially a tin can,” says DeHass.

Sport Chek has teamed up with Twitter around specific teams and events in which liking a tweet allows the user to receive an automatic notification when the event is gearing up to start. During Rio, it worked with the social media platform on a Moment Maker tool.