For Sport Chek, team sports is about more than winning or losing

Who: Sport Chek, with Cartier for strategy and creative; 4Zero1 for production; Post 430 for post production; Cult Nation for music; Touché for media; and Veritas for PR and influencer support.

What: “Find What Team Moves You,” an integrated brand campaign that emphasizes Sport Chek’s contributions to team sports for kids. It’s the first campaign from Cartier, which was recently chosen as the brand’s AOR.

When & Where: The spring campaign launched this week, and is running on TV and online video, social and PR.

Why: Research shows customer shopping habits and patterns have changed, and many consumers are looking for purposeful brands and retailers with shared values, said Sport Chek’s vice-president of marketing, Stephanie Wall.

For this campaign, an evolution of its long-running “Find What Moves You” platform, Sport Chek wanted to show that it recognizes and supports the different benefits of team sports for kids.

“It’s not just about being the best athlete, but that notion that team sports really builds character, and is an investment in something bigger,” said Wall. Aside from being the first campaign from new agency Cartier, this is also the first work entirely conceived and developed under Wall, who joined last June.

Sport Chek asked Cartier for creative that would help the brand make a visceral connection with consumers. “We really wanted to build a campaign that got at the emotional resonance of our customer, and not just the practical functional benefits of our [products],” said Wall.

While always important to parents and kids, youth team sports have taken on new meaning for many after the pandemic, when most activities were put on hold for a year or more.

“We feel really strongly about our brand purpose, which is to empower Canadians to live a healthy active lifestyle,” she said. But for many people, thinking and ideas about being healthy and having an active lifestyle were affected by the pandemic. “Team sports is something we didn’t get to have in COVID, so it feels really precious,” she said. “It’s an important category for us, and we really want to reassert our dominance and show that when you think of team sports, think of Sport Chek.”

How: The campaign is anchored by a 30-second TV spot that features scenes of boys and girls practicing and playing popular team sports. But there are no tried-and-true victory or celebration shots, just hard work—three soccer players practicing in a pounding rainstorm—and defeat. A closeup of a soccer goalie preparing for a penalty shot ends with her failing to make the save, but then being comforted by teammates.

The character-building theme is articulated in the voiceover: “What gives them grit, determination, drive and unwavering resilience,” says an adult voice. “…is also what moves us,” says a young girl to connect the story to the brand and the “Find what moves you” tagline.

“What we wanted to convey was what we believe having your kids and yourself involved in team sport gives to you… that sport is an investment in something bigger than yourself,” said Wall.

“Individual sports have a ton of merit… It’s not about being the star athlete, but about that notion of what being part of a team brings to life.”

The music:  “We really wanted to use music to be a bit breakthrough,” said Wall. The track is “The Difference,” by Flume. “We looked at a bunch of well-known tracks, but [wanted] something that wasn’t used in a lot of advertising.”

The up-tempo dance track provides energy to drive the ad forward, but drops out dramatically for a few seconds in the middle to heighten the tension of the young athletes practicing their sport, and the goalie facing the shot. It comes back in to close the ad, as the ball bounces behind the dejected goalkeeper and her teammates put their arms around her.

David Brown