Tag Archives: Real Time Marketing

Sport Chek Shows #WhatItTakes to Win Olympics Mindshare

Our athletes may not be the only Canadians striking gold at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

Sport Chek’s path to these Games began in 2013 when parent company Canadian Tire signed a huge eight-year partnership with the COC. The strategy for Canada’s iconic sporting goods retailer was further revealed during the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi as Sport Chek launched its #WhatItTakes campaign in partnership with creative agency Sid Lee.

Let’s take a look at how Sport Chek has evolved this concept as it takes centre stage at the Rio Games.

Real-Time Relevance

From the onset, a sponsorship with the Canadian Olympic Committee is obvious as a strong brand fit for Sport Chek. But it’s par for the course for sports manufacturers & retailers to employ athletes and teams in promoting their brands.

Sport Chek took things to the next level, taking notes from the real-time marketing playbook popularized by Oreo. Drawing the attention of Adweek, Sport Chek has set up a ‘war room’ with its content team, agency partners from TBWA\Chiat\Day and an editor from CBC.

This real-time approach allows Sport Chek to incorporate recent footage of Canada’s athletes from Rio competition, serving viewers with the utility of actual highlights and news instead of generic B-roll footage.

Inspiring Message

While Canada is known as a legitimate force in the Winter Games, our country’s relationship with the Summer Olympics has been more about ups and downs. Sport Chek & TBWA embraced this insight to craft a refreshing spot that celebrates Canada’s role as an underdog nation whose setbacks only make us better.

The drama that unfolds in this manifesto undoubtedly feels inspiring for its viewers, a quality that has been shown to be especially effective for millennial males by Unruly, a digital marketing firm specializing in emotional intelligence. As explained in another Olympics article from Adweek, “inspiration is one of the top emotions. If that is present at all in an ad, they tend to experience it”.

Right Platforms

#WhatItTakes shows up in the right places to get noticed by modern viewers. As the Olympics viewing experience gets more mobile (with free streaming available on all devices), Sport Chek focused nearly 80 percent of its Rio 2016 spend on digital media, over 60 percent of which is dedicated to mobile.

Furthermore, the campaign has fully embraced social media, weaving the #WhatItTakes hashtag into its content across all Sport Chek’s social channels and posting frequent updates from the Games as it happens. Canadian Olympic athlete profiles, similar in style to Sport Chek’s previous #MyNorth campaign, incorporated the campaign’s integrated message and showed how personal challenges have made them better.

As the Rio Olympics continue, look for Sport Chek to capture Canada’s biggest moments and emerge as one of the brands that best associates itself with these 2016 Summer Games. And when it comes time for the annual marketing awards season, don’t be surprised if you see Sport Chek on the podium.

What’s the most memorable ad campaign you’ve seen in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics? How about your all-time best Olympics spot? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Super Bowl Ads – The Best and The Worst

As most of us witnessed, the Seattle Seahawks dominated the Denver Broncos on Sunday in a 43-8 rout. We also were subject to seemingly endless commentary (pre-game, in-game, post-game… even post-halftime show!) – and of course enough advertising to dwarf the GDP of a small country.

Without further ado, here are the winners & losers:

Rookie of the Year – GoldieBlox

A start-up company designing building toys for future (female) engineers ended up crashing the big game party, courtesy of a contest by Intuit. Although they had to sub out the Rube Goldberg “Princess Machine” spot due to copyright beef with the Beastie Boys, this perfectly demonstrates what makes them unique.

Most Valuable Player – Budweiser

People seemed to unanimously love the heartwarming tale of puppy, horses, and attractive people – this ad scored the highest on USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter.

It would be redundant posting the video – you’ve undoubtedly had it pop up to the top of your Facebook News Feed for the last week.

Most Awkward Celebrity Endorsement – Michael Phelps et al (Subway)

For some reason Subway felt that their new Fritos Chicken Enchilada absolutely warranted the most expensive TV slot they could buy, and slapped together an ad at the last minute. This is just uncomfortable, and everything but entertaining for the millions of fans.

Best Real-Time Marketing – Volkswagen

After earning well-deserved laughs with the “Wings” spot, Volkswagen released a well-timed tweet when Denver was down big while also playfully interacting with brands such as Red Bull and Priceline.com.

Defensive Player of the Year – JC Penney

When JC Penney tweeted this garbled nonsense, many (including yours truly) thought it was another case of a drunk community manager. However, this was just a ploy to gain some attention during the big game, with the brand posting a quick apology/explanation here. Unfortunately it garnered far fewer retweets than the original tweet, but at least their reputation remains intact for most.

Worst Hashtag – Butterfinger

After dropping Bart Simpson as their longstanding figurehead, many of us thought it was time for Butterfinger to find a new, more mature voice. Sadly, 2014 marked a disaster as they awkwardly proposed a ménage à trois with Taco Bell that went unreciprocated by the edgy brand on Twitter. Their hashtag (#CupTherapy) became primarily a platform for fans to complain about their blatant copying of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

All-American Champion – Chrysler

Sorry Coke (again), but Chrysler got Bob Dylan to ask “Is there anything more American than America?” ‘Nuff said.

Best Canadian Ad – Budweiser Canada

After Oreo stole the show last year with real time marketing during the blackout, Budweiser Canada introduces the concept of a Red Zeppelin activated by hockey goals. Perfect timing to get fans excited before the men’s hockey team arrives in Sochi.

Next stop for big game advertising – Sochi!

What did you think about the ads and social media plays during Super Bowl XLVIII?