Sport Chek taps into the joy of sports with post-pandemic doubleheader

A pair of efforts highlight the optimism many Canadians are feeling with the prospect of a return to the normalcy of team sports.

Sport Chek is building on a successful spring campaign with a second installment under its “Cheklist” platform, while also shining a light on the value of community sport organizations in a related PR effort.

When the brand launched its “Cheklist” platform in March, it sought to widen the scope of its messaging away from its traditional focus on performance and competitive athletics, instead creating a more inclusive message to speak to a more casual consumer – tapping into a renewed interest in physical activity among Canadians who were tired of being cooped up by pandemic lockdowns.

Now, it has returned to the platform with the new spot, which features a boy practicing his basketball shots on an outdoor court while his mother watches on in support.

While many executions in the first round of “Cheklist” creative were slightly more product-driven – showing consumers that Sport Chek has whatever they might need to pursue any physical activity they might be interested in – the spot focuses on the emotional fulfillment sport offers and speaks even more directly to the pandemic reality, according to Eva Salem, VP of marketing at Canadian Tire, the retailer’s parent company.

“Most of us have really been missing sports and teams and playing in more communal, public spaces,” says Salem. “This spot was really meant to reflect that: we believe a return to sport, play and going to playgrounds is important, for youth and for Canadians in general. It leads to healthier, happier humans.”

Though the brand was “cautious and safety-oriented” in the execution of its spot, it also aimed to strike an optimistic tone “about some return to normal and the things that we loved and missed,” she adds.

Sport Chek is further building on those themes with a PR-driven effort it is calling “Community Chek Ins,” which is built around “finding ways to support organizations that promote team sport and physical self-improvement.”

The first in a planned series of “Chek Ins” launched earlier this week, featuring Ballers Union Training Centre in North York. Using the “Cheklist” framework, the video also spotlights the help Sport Chek provided the business by supplying it with new equipment, and Canadians can expect similar from future installments in the series.

“So many things have been rocked for so many different groups and organizations over the last 18 months, and certainly team sports would be near the top of that list. They had been pretty much eradicated at anything outside of the professional level,” explains Salem. “When the PR team came up with the idea of ‘Chek Ins’ and we combined it with the ‘Cheklist’ platform we have been working on, it made so much sense.”

As with the platform launch, the “Basketball Cheklist” spot was developed by the retailer’s in-house team, with Touche! assisting on the media buy. It is “a full-funnel program” running across TV, OLV, digital and in-store.

“Community Chek In” was developed by Sport Chek’s PR team in partnership with Veritas Communications. It will live primarily on digital and social, “with some paid against it,” says Salem.