With Sneakers Struggling, Dick's Looks To Tempt Teens

Hoping to spark up the year’s nearly nonexistent back-to-school season, Dick’s Sporting Goods is rolling out new ads highlighting some of the top trends. Acknowledging that it’s still unclear whether school will mean an actual classroom or more at-home learning, the “Your Day One Starts Here” campaign focuses on building confidence through style.

The spots star Miles (“Black-ish”) Brown and Nicole Laeno, a TikTok/Instagram celeb, wandering through the sneakers, hoodies and hats that make kids feel like — COVID or no COVID — they got game. VMLY&R is the agency.

The ads also feature Calyann Barnett, a stylist for the NBA, who walks the teens through their options.



“We wanted to do what we could to help kids and parents make this as positive of a time as possible,” says a Dick’s spokesperson. 

But “positive” might not be a word getting used much lately in the athletic apparel space, with major brands facing struggles more ominous than poor sales.

Under Armour has just been notified by the Securities & Exchange Commission that it may take civil-enforcement actions against Kevin Plank, chief executive officer, as well as its chief financial officer. The SEC says the company misrepresented sales results in 2015 and 2016.

And Nike, one of the first brands to chime in with support for Black Lives Matter after the death of George Floyd in May, is wrestling with new protests at its Oregon headquarters. It recently announced the departure of Kellie Leonard, the company’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, replacing her with Felicia Mayo, who joined the company last year.  She had formerly been a diversity chief at Tesla.

Earlier this month, Adidas also parted ways with its head of diversity, after similar problems.

Dick’s, too, is looking to step up its diversity credentials, adding NFL star Larry Fitzgerald to its board of directors.

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