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Sports Direct launches first ever Christmas ad featuring cameo from Jordan Henderson

Lauretta Roberts
18 November 2020

Sports Direct has unveiled its first ever Christmas ad campaign, featuring a cameo from Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson, and showcasing the brand’s fresh new positioning and rebrand for 2021 and beyond.

Called "Sport Starts Here", the high-energy video is a musical celebration of sport and fitness, where we see a range of sports being choreographed in "a magical mashup".

The narrative begins with a young woman being asked what she would like for Christmas by her mum and her mind takes her on a trip where she explores all the sporting options from basketball to boxing, horse-riding to golf. Henderson makes a cameo as he is tackled by a female football player.

Sports Direct assembled a high-profile line-up of talent to create the campaign with the campaign directed by Henry Scholfield, best known for directing Stormzy’s iconic Vossi Bop music video.

Scholfield said: "The brief was to make a Christmas ad that celebrates sport in a way that’s fun and iconic with a touch of mad, which is a bit like creative catnip for me. Time was tight, so we dug into some quick-footed creative collaboration with ECD Matt Bolton at MOX, with some excellent speedy production and post production from Academy.

"That coupled with a client who was up for it, meant this was a very enjoyable film to make. I was super stoked to find Yamina (our very talented lead), who, with Bex and Amanda (her mates) and the other 97 other cast members, makes the spot ring with much needed Christmas cheer."

Styling was by Toni Blaze, stylist to the stars and Editor-in-Chief of Wonderland magazine, while cinematography was by Arnau Valls Colomer, who has worked on videos for the likes of Rosalia, Tame Impala, James Blake and Katy Perry. Photography was by Benjamin Lennox who has worked with Dua Lipa, Charlie Puth, Kevin Hart and is a regular at Vogue.

The track featured on the TV spot, and on social, is an MC Fioti remix of the iconic Sister Nancy’s "Bam Bam Tam Tam", chosen to underscore the high energy of the campaign.

More than 40 million people across the UK will see the "Sport Starts Here" ad over the next month, after the team at The Specialist Works co-ordinated above-the-line media planning and buying. The campaign will be featured on flagship spots in the UEFA Nations League (England vs Iceland), I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here! and Gogglebox via a series of 60, 30 and 10-second adverts.

Coming in at a cost of £5m the campaign is part of Sports Direct's over-arching "Elevation Strategy" which aims to position the Frasers Group-owned brand as "the ultimate sport and fitness destination on the high street", and also seeks to underscore its expertise in a wide range of sports.

Frasers Group head of elevation Michael Murray said:“The evolution of our brand is the final piece of our elevation strategy. This is just the start of things to come for the new look Sports Direct.”

Sports Direct chief marketing officer Beckie Stanion added: “This is a hugely exciting time for the brand as it marks the first time consumers will be seeing our fresh new outlook via the TVC and on social. We wanted to create something that truly captures our new strategy and purpose; championing the legend in everyone, no matter how skilled you are. This campaign does exactly that, which is why we wanted to bring on the UK’s most creative minds and source real sport and fitness talent to bring our new narrative to life.”

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