Sports Direct is the UK’s largest sports retailer in the country and the self-proclaimed ‘Home of Sport’. And when PUMA drops a new iteration of its hugely popular and achingly beautiful ‘Future’ series football boot, nicknamed the ‘Flash Pack’, it’s kind of a big deal. Sold at Sports Direct, the objective was to increase awareness of the new line in the UK and drive sales of the boot on Sportsdirect.com.
Sports Direct needed to celebrate the hype of a new PUMA football boot, but also find a way to inspire purchase intent on Sportsdirect.com, whilst increasing brand engagement with a new audience of TikTok users. The idea? A Hashtag Challenge Plus campaign called #FlashofFuture, incentivised by the chance to meet a PUMA footballer. The mechanic? Film a skill move of your choice, followed by your own unique football celebration, entered using the hashtag. Be part of the buzz.
With support from their agency DINK and the TikTok team Sports Direct launched its Hashtag Challenge with three official videos, one by Sports Direct itself and two by popular UK creators. The two creator videos doubled the UK benchmark for engagement rate and inspired other popular creators to add their entries. Alongside this, Sports Direct ran a Brand Takeover ad, showcasing part of its innovative launch video, and a set of In-Feed Ads featuring the same creative, reaching over 3.1M users. Combined with a Brand Banner on the Discover page and a featured hashtag, these all drove users to the challenge page.
。Hashtag Challenge Plus adds five highly-customisable sections to the challenge page in the ‘Explore’ tab. These are: a discover banner, interactive survey, store finder, related hashtag and, crucially, a product carousel, turning this into a shoppable brand experience. It meant there were multiple touchpoints for PUMA fans to explore the product with Sports Direct, in-app or through links to its external website. Sports Direct also utilised a bespoke music track and unique Branded Effect with Hashtag Challenge Plus, for users to get creative with in their entries, proven to further boost exposure and engagement.
Resulting in 1.46M challenge page views from all activations (4x higher than benchmarks), the campaign exceeded expectation on all counts. The Hashtag Challenge inspired 49K TikTok users to show their creative flair, leading to 113K UGC submissions and 154M video views, massively outperforming the UK platform benchmark. The UGC entries also made great use of Sports Direct’s unique ‘Flash of Future’ Branded Effect, making them stand out in the feed for greater exposure.
The eye-catching Brand Takeover ad achieved an impressive CTR of nearly 20%, piquing the curiosity of football-loving users. Together with the native video In-Feed Ads, these two formats over-delivered on impressions by 115%, creating significant brand awareness for Sports Direct and PUMA.
Finally, the Hashtag Challenge drove positive brand sentiment, its launch video gathering quality engagement in the comments and reactions, even a few physical ‘flinches’, as any great creative would. The campaign also drove a follower increase of 280% for Sports Direct, from c.10K brand profile followers to over 30K. PUMA’s ‘Future’ was blue, but this future is bright.