Watch the Spot: Dick's Debuts 90-Second Anthem

'Untouchable' Campaign Marks Departure for Sporting-Goods Retailer

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Dick's Sporting Goods is looking to better define its brand for consumers, and it's beginning with a 90-second anthem spot launching today.

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The spot, "Untouchable," is a departure for Dick's, which has largely been defined by co-op advertising. But because the retailer is growing rapidly (it will reach 500 stores this year and does $5 billion in annual sales), it's time to make a "strong statement" about the brand, said Chief Marketing Officer Lauren Hobart.

"This was never about a repositioning of the brand," Ms. Hobart said. "It's very strong, and consumers feel passion for it. It's about really being crystal-clear about what we wanted to stand for."

Ms. Hobart and her team embarked on an in-depth brand-positioning exercise about seven months ago. They went shopping with more than 100 consumers, talked to athletes and interviewed Dick's employees. They found that Dick's is viewed as providing an unbiased perspective on equipment and products. Ms. Hobart felt there was an opportunity to make a stronger emotional connection with athletes.

Earlier this year, Dick's tapped Anomaly to handle creative work -- the retailer's first retained-agency relationship. Redscout worked with the retailer on positioning; media buying and planning is handled in-house. Dick's spends about $60 million a year on measured media, according to Kantar Media. Ms. Hobart declined to comment on the budget for the campaign.

The soundtrack for the spot is the theme song from the movie "Rudy." Early scenes in the ad show an empty stadium, pool and locker room. Athletes then begin filling the venues, prepping and warming up. Copy on the screen reads, "When mind, body and equipment come together, you are untouchable." Images of athletes competing then take over, and the spot closes with the text, "Every inch, every hurdle, every comeback, every finish, every championship, every season starts at Dick's."

Dick's branding isn't seen until the closing seconds of the 90-second spot, which may leave some viewers wondering who the advertiser is . Nike and Gatorade have both taken similar approaches in recent years. Attentive consumers will note the variety of brands on display in the Dick's ad -- Asics, Wilson, Nike , Adidas and Under Armour all make appearances.

"We really feel like what's coming through in this work is unique to Dick's," Ms. Hobart said. "The myriad of different products and brands represented throughout, that alone makes it unique, something people haven't seen before."

The retailer is in the process of sharing the work with brand partners and discussing plans for what new co-op ads will look like, Ms. Hobart said. The plan is to "align on a very tight brief that represents our brand and their brand."

both 90-second and 60-second versions "Untouchable" will run on a variety of channels, including ESPN, NBC Sports, CBS, TNT and NHL Network. The campaign also includes print, radio, digital and social media.

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