Dick's Sweet Christmas Spot: Ping Pong Is Forever

Dick’s Sporting Goods is heading into the holidays with an ad meant to send parents scurrying for both Kleenex and their ping-pong paddles.

The spot shows how one table spans generations — and sibling rivalry — in a single basement.

A Dick’s spokesperson tells Marketing Daily the 60-second ad, created by Anomaly, is meant to highlight how lasting the gift of sport can be in a way that is “emotional, relatable and nostalgic. They are the gifts that keep on giving…We think that's a heartwarming story that every family can relate to — a truth to the holiday season that connects us all.”

The new effort, running on network and cable, comes as some are predicting rough sledding for sportswear this season, even as consumers are poised for healthy spending in many other categories.



NPD Group thinks Santa will have little love for sneakers this year. Sales of Adidas, Nike, Brand Jordan and Converse sales fell in September, writes Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry advisor for NPD, in his latest report, and he expects that trend to continue through the holidays. Even the Nike Tanjun, the top selling shoe for the last two years, registered a sales decline.  

“Without growth from these major brands, the athletic footwear market cannot grow,” he says. And with no hot shoes to replace the Tanjun or other items driving demand, “I see no catalyst to drive overall sales back into the positive column for holiday.”

As a result, he expects the market to become intensely promotional, looking to woo shoppers with ever-lower prices. 

That seems true at Pittsburgh-based Dick’s, which is also announcing “unprecedented deals” during Black Friday week. With extended hours on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, it’s advertising discounts of up to 50%, table-tennis sets included.

That continued focus on markdowns is pressuring financial performance. In its most recent quarterly results, the sporting goods retailer says same-store sales fell 4%, and predicts that for the full year, same-store sales will drop between 3% and 4%.

And while Powell says cold-weather products sold briskly in the third quarter, forecasts of a warm and dry winter are likely to muffle “any real gains for the category during the fourth quarter.”

Powell predicts smaller brands will shine this season, though.  “Small is the new big,” he says, “with Vans, Puma, Reebok, Fila, and Brooks all outperforming the market.”
And he also looks for a bump in women’s products: “As the industry has vastly underserved women, the women’s footwear market remains our greatest failure, but it is also our greatest opportunity.”

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