- Dick's Sporting Goods is out with its first CGI animated commercial. Titled, "The New Kid," the 90-second spot shows a new Nike Air Max 270 React shoe — the new kid — arriving at a Dick's store, according to press materials shared with Marketing Dive. When the store closes for the night, the sneakers, baseball gloves, soccer balls and other sports gear come to life and play games.
- The spot debuted Nov. 17 during Sunday Night Football, and will run on national cable through Dec. 18. There's also a two-minute video on "The Making of 'The New Kid,'" demonstrating computer graphic modeling, compositing and other tricks of how the holiday commercial was created.
- The campaign has a dedicated landing page on the retail chain's e-commerce site, and still images and other assets from "The New Kid" will be shared across Dick's accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Dick's worked with agency Anomaly on the effort, and Moving Picture Company NY handled the animation.
In telling a story of inanimate objects coming to life at night when no one is around, "The New Kid" is reminiscent of the movie "Night at the Museum," both of which were co-directed by Shawn Levy. He also produced and directed episodes of Netflix's hit series "Stranger Things," while his counterpart on the Dick's spot, Will Gluck, directed the comedy film "Easy A."
Big brands borrowing from theatrical films has been a trend for several years as marketers double down on creating ads that are entertaining enough to grab attention and spur sharing on social media. By telling a compelling story using sporting gear as characters, the Dick's spot has the potential to create excitement around the retail chain's merchandise and drive consumers into its stores during the critical holiday shopping season.
"I saw the impact that those Museum movies had on audiences, the way they not only increased actual attendance at the Museum of Natural History, but in the way I saw kids looking up at those exhibits," Levy said in the press release. "I could see first-hand the deepened connection, the way that inanimate objects were suddenly imbued with life — with the magic inherent in asking 'What if…'"
For Dick's, the approach is a change from previous years, when its holiday ads typically told the story of a single product and how it can create lasting memories, CMO Ed Plummer told Adweek. This year, the chain wanted to show how products are more than just products, he said.
Dick's, which was founded in 1948 and has about 600 stores across the U.S., has been shaking up its marketing this year in other ways, having entered into its first partnership with another major retailer this summer for Outdoor Story — an in-store concept at Macy's that featured more than 70 brands — and events such as gardening workshops and kayaking on the Hudson River.
These efforts come amid strong sales for the chain, which in August reported its strongest comparable-store sales gain — up 3.2% — since 2016. Overall, second quarter net sales increased 3.8% and digital sales grew 21%.