Monday, August 15, 2011

UR Doin' it Rite: Dick's Sporting Goods

Let’s look at a simple campaign that probably won’t win any awards, but accomplishes its objectives nicely.  Dick’s Sporting Goods has chosen to take on the issue of high school athletes and concussions.

I like this approach for several reasons.

  1. Concussions among football players have become a major issue in sports.  Largely due to the relentless efforts by New York Times reporter Alan Schwarz (why hasn’t he won a Pulitzer for this reporting?), loudly seconded by columnist Gregg Easterbrook, the NFL has begun to address the issue.  Of course Dick’s wants to drive sales by joining the cause, but so what?  That’s how cause-related marketing works.
  2. Dick’s uses a good spokesman, former Steelers’ running back and current NBC commentator Jerome “The Bus” Bettis.  Bettis brings authority as a former great and as someone who represents the more affable side of football.  The spot would have worked less well with someone like Michael Vick.  Casting counts.  While the spot does not have the panache of the Navy SEALs spot I discussed earlier, it does get to the point.  It probably also speaks well to its target market, high school athletes and especially their parents.
  3. Simple offer.  You buy shoes, we donate $1 to a program that helps high school screen for brain trauma.  Why not helmets?  Because teams buy helmets, whereas many high school athletes prefer to buy (or must buy) shoes on their own.  Also, EVERYONE needs shoes, no matter what sport he or she plays (or doesn’t play).  Everyone gets to participate.
  4. Simple call to action:  The old-school direct-response guy would like to see the URL more throughout the spot, but hey, you can’t have everything.
  5. While the site won’t win any awards either, it does cover the bases effectively. It explains how students can participate, how teams can apply for concussion testing software and how to get more information about concussions.

If this post comes across as damning Dick’s with faint praise, then I have not made myself clear.  Unlike so many other really simple ideas, this concussion-awareness campaign manages to grab the audience’s attention (thanks to The Bus), get them to a site (thanks to a simple URL) and give them all the information they need to engage (thanks to the site).  Such a straightforward approach shouldn’t be so hard and Dick’s certainly doesn’t make it look that way.  Well done.

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