Riding strong sales, Champion debuts global campaign

Sportswear brand is a bright spot in the Hanesbrands portfolio

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There may be a host of sportswear brands in the market today, but few of them can claim roots that go back 100 years. Champion, which was founded in Rochester, N.Y. a century ago, is leaning into such heritage with a global brand campaign, "100 Years for the Team." Debuting Tuesday, the new push will feature sports teams from around the world on social media. It will also include influencer collaborations, such as a partnership with basketball star Magic Johnson.

"Consumer participation is at the center of the campaign," says David Robertson, director of brand marketing at Champion, which is owned by Hanesbrands, noting that real and authentic sporting stories are what will make the campaign special. The new work includes a 30-second video with Johnson highlighting Champion's heritage as a brand "for the team." Sports players can use #Champion100 and a dedicated website to share their team stories.

Champion issued an RFP for the new work, its first campaign since 2018's "Dare to be Champion." The brand worked with London-based Exposure after a competitive review, Robertson says.

Champion has been a well-performing bright spot in the Hanesbrands portfolio as shoppers revive its 90s-era sweatswear. Overall third-quarter net sales for Hanesbrands were up 3 percent over the year-earlier period to $1.9 billion for Hanes; the activewear segment that includes Champion saw sales rise 7 percent in the period. However, sales of the Champion brand on its own increased 30 percent in the quarter on a constant currency basis, the company said. In recent years, Champion has collaborated on collections with fashion designer Todd Snyder and brands such as Madewell.

Late last year, it opened a store in Boston, its fourth retail outpost.

Robertson did not specify how much Champion is spending on its new campaign, but says it is a "major marketing commitment." In 2017, Champion spent nearly $580,000 on measured media in the U.S., according to Kantar Media.

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