Sports Direct hires new retained PR agency after competitive pitch

Britain’s biggest sports retailer has hired The Romans as its retained PR agency following a competitive pitch process, PRWeek can reveal.

Stills from the filming of Sports Direct's Christmas campaign, 'Sports starts here'
Stills from the filming of Sports Direct's Christmas campaign, 'Sports starts here'

The remit includes a retained press office and influencer programme, and creative projects to support a business-wide elevation strategy and new brand direction for the retailer.

The Romans will lead the brand’s PR and influencer approach, and work alongside Sports Direct’s broader inter-agency team to shift perception of the brand with a clear focus on retail, ecommerce and experience.  

The firm's first task is to launch the new brand direction this week with the release of Sports Direct’s first Christmas campaign, 'Sports starts here'. 

The film (below) was developed by advertising agency Mox London and directed by the award-winning Henry Schofield, best known for directing Stormzy’s Vossi Bop music video.

The spot follows a female protagonist exploring the realms of sport in a high-energy, musical mash-up of sport and fitness. It features a cameo by Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson. 

The £5m campaign is designed to position Sports Direct's retail proposition to become “the ultimate sport and fitness destination on the high street”. 

Sports Direct’s chief marketing officer, Beckie Stanion, said the retailer was “blown away” by The Romans' pitch.

“We challenged all the agencies to present us with a clear, ambitious and creatively bold plan for 2021 and beyond, and that’s exactly what we got from Joe and the team. In what is set to be a pivotal year for Sports Direct, we couldn’t think of a better agency partner to have on board,” Stanion said.

The Romans co-founder and executive creative director Joe Mackay-Sinclair said: “Sports Direct’s ambition for a new brand strategy and direction is huge and came through loud and clear in the brief and from our meetings with the client team. There’s nothing better than collaborating with clients who care passionately about making exceptional work – it’s all we care about too.”

The win caps off an impressive year for The Romans, which recently scored a hat-trick of PRWeek UK Awards and was Campaign’s PR Agency of The Year.

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