Intersport, the global sports retailer, is reaching out to the amateur fitness enthusiasts and everyday athletes that have come together in virtual communities during the pandemic in its new brand campaign.
The campaign, taglined "You'll never sport alone," evolves last year's first ever brand ever work for Intersport, via Amsterdam agency We Are Pi, which focused on the theme "Wherever sport takes you" and positioned Intersport as "at the heart of sport." This time, it acknowledges the shifts that have been happening during the pandemic as people turn to digital communities to find connection and motivation in individual sports.
Two online films, running globally via Intersport social channels, focus on training and running respectively. The running film follows the story of four sets of runners competing together while apart in a virtual race, in various locations, styles and terrains, from trail to treadmill. Their virtual connection keeps them going and motivates them to get to the end. Similarly, the training film (below), follows the story of a training community of four sets of training buddies who train "together" connected by technology.
The films, directed by Giorgio Bruni of Creative Blood, overlay social media comments, gifs and emojis on the action to add to the sense of the virtual community. They were filmed in the Netherlands last autumn, adhering to Covid -19 regulations.
The agency, We Are Pi, was inspired by the increasing popularity of virtual sports communities which have come to the fore during the pandemic.
"I think what we realized this year was that while at the elite level running and training are individual sports, running crews and training hubs are really at the beating heart of where running is today," says Danny Marsh, We Are Pi's strategy director. "Coming in to 2020, what we were inspired by is how those communities kept going. From Whatsapp groups to emoji-filled comments on Strava, these communities really stood up for each other to keep each other going and kept each other sane, and we wanted to celebrate that. Even pre-Covid, local communities are getting people through the toughest times in their lives and now with this massive challenge they have still found ways to make it work."
According to Intersport Group CEO Steve Evers, the brand campaign comes at a time of transition for the company, which is the world's largest sporting goods chain with more than 5000 stores across 44 markets, from a buying group to a more unified retail brand. "We really strive to have our growth led by the brand now. We have all these stores in these towns and terrains and the biggest challenge is to connect and unify. What I really like about this campaign is that we are at the heart of sport and this brand promise makes us unique."
Celebrating customers' love of virtual communities is also crucial at a time when many of its stores are closed in Europe, adds Christoph Frechen, Intersport's general manager, marketing . "We can keep on engaging our consumers and motivating them to do sport. It's tremendously powerful right now in this unique situation we are all living in."
Once stores re-open, the new brand campaign will be used at all physical touchpoints. And for now, the brand will continue to motivate its consumers online with digital engagements such as "Work-Ins," its at-home workout sessions led by sport influencers on Instagram.