TBWA\Chiat\Day New York Explores Olympic Failure and Redemption in Sport Chek Campaign

By Erik Oster 

TBWA\Chiat\Day New York’s Olympic campaign for Canadian retailer Sport Chek takes a slightly different approach than most of the ads we’ve seen released for the 2016 Rio Olympics. While most of those ads center around Olympic triumph, in “#WhatItTakes,” TBWA\Chiat\Day also pays attention to failures.

It’s hardly groundbreaking. But the approach, as seen in the online campaign’s “Opening Olympic Manifesto,” is just different enough to stand out from the pack.

Other ads may talk about triumph over adversity, but rarely does a spot linger on defeat for so long. The first 90-second ad shows a series of athletic failures over a voiceover proclaiming, “We hope you hear them cheer for everyone but you,” and “We hope that every athlete is better, more determined than you.” The reasoning? “We wish this misery upon you because it gives birth to brilliance.”


With that line, the spot shifts to more typical images of Olympic triumph that take on greater significance following all the failures.

Other spots in the campaign continue where the original left off, evolving from failure to triumph over the course of their 60 seconds.

Each ad asks the viewer, in one way or another, if they have “what it takes.” The voiceover sometimes sounds a bit like an imitation of slam poetry, but the slight difference in approach is appreciated amidst a slew of nearly identical Olympic anthem ads, and it helps the Canadian brand stand apart.

Of course, the Canadians athletes featured help as well.

Chris Garbutt, Global Creative President & CCO NY
Serge Flores, Group Creative Director
Denver Eastman, Associate Creative Director
Jake Greer, Associate Creative Director
Greg Wells, Senior Art Director
Shane Koyczan, Writer/Vocalist
Alyssa DeSilva, Associate Project Manager

Jason Souter, Head of Integrated Production
Katie Boyko, Integrated Producer
Deb Horvath, Business Affairs

Aki Spicer, Chief Digital Officer
Sam Glassoff, Strategic Planner

Rob Schwartz, President/CEO NY
Nancy Reyes, Managing Director
Eryn McVerry, Group Account Director
Emily Zale, Account Supervisor

Olympic Manifesto Films TV Production Company – CBC (Toronto, ON)
Chris Irwin, Executive Producer
Sherin Manji, Coordinating Producer
Giorgio Saturnino, Producer
Louis Saturnino, Editor
Ryan Ferguson, Editor
Nicole Cartier, PA
Vince Gassi, PA

Media Agency – Touche (Montreal, QC)