Sport Chek’s plan to be a ‘cool’ brand

The sporting goods store looks to sharpen its image

Sharpening its image

Jeff McIntosh/CP

Landing Sidney Crosby as a pitchman is only the start of Sport Chek’s plan to be a ‘cool’ brand

With its black facade and red-slash logo, Sport Chek is a familiar sight in malls across the country. As Canada’s only big-box sporting goods retailer, it’s a convenient place for consumers to find everything from hockey skates and bicycles to running shoes and golf clubs. But, as its new owner is the first to admit, Sport Chek isn’t exactly known for being a “cool” place to shop—although snagging hockey superstar Sidney Crosby as a pitchman was a step in the right direction.

With competition from U.S.-based retailers on the rise, Canadian Tire (which purchased Sport Chek’s parent company, Forzani Group Ltd., for $771 million earlier this year) has tapped Montreal ad agency Sid Lee to do a complete brand overhaul of FGL’s flagship 139-store Sport Chek chain. “Our goal is to inspire our customers and define the purpose that Sport Chek has in their life,” says Duncan Fulton, the chief marketing officer of FGL. “And hopefully it’s more than a box in the mall where you can buy some stuff and then go out and be passionate about your sport.”

Sid Lee is the ad agency behind Adidas’s latest global brand campaign, its biggest ever, featuring soccer superstars Lionel Messi and David Beckham, the NBA’s Derrick Rose and singer Katy Perry. Amid pounding beats, the spots weave together heroic action from the soccer pitch and basketball court with gritty street-oriented sports like skateboarding and BMX, with a dose of fashion and music thrown in for good measure—basically all of the sports and “lifestyle” categories where Adidas wants to be recognized.

Fulton says Sport Chek, which plans to keep Crosby involved in its ad campaign, has a similarly disparate group of customers to try to gather under one roof. “The mentality of a woman going to yoga is different than an alpine skier, a guy hiking up a mountain, or a guy going to play hockey with his buddies at night,” he says, adding that Sid Lee Architecture, a partner company, will also help redesign Sport Chek stores. “We’re going to provide a lot more inspiration for our customers.”

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