• Sports Direct’s new campaign ‘School Starts Here’, is an unfiltered and uplifting celebration of teenagers returning to school
• Launching on 29th July 2021, the £2.5m campaign is set to debut during Love Island and stars TikTok sensations Ollie Ball and Jacob Pasquill
• Created in collaboration with MOX, the campaign features bursts of candid UGC produced, shot and remixed by young creatives
• The energetic content showcases the brand’s new School Starts Here collection, cementing Sports Direct as the leading destination for back to school performance gear

United Kingdom, London: Sports Direct, the UK’s largest sports and fitness retailer, has today launched its uplifting new back to school campaign; ‘School Starts Here’. The £2.5m campaign comprising TV, OOH, social media, and in-store captures the buzz of young people returning to the school grounds – reunited, refreshed and ready to show off the sporting skills they picked up during lockdown.

Fronted by teen TikTok stars Ollie Ball and Jacob Pasquill, School Starts Here is defined by attitude, realness and cheek – capturing the relatable feeling teenagers across the country will experience as they reunite with peers after a turbulent school year.

The lively 60” and 30” adverts, which launch on 29th July 2021 during Love Island, are an irreverent and inclusive celebration of young people coming together and feeling empowered as they confidently ‘catwalk’ the school halls in their new season sports kit.

Directed by Joao Retorta from Bullion Production, and working in collaboration with young creatives, the ads were created by equipping ‘crews’ of sporting schoolchildren with the tools to capture unfiltered, candid moments through a sporting lens. These pieces of personality-driven moments feature across video and still content, balancing youthful playfulness with a premium editorial style.

The school ‘crews’ were cast from a range of sports clubs across the UK, including AP Saints Netball Club (St Albans), Yem Stars Football Club (London), Birchfield Harriers (Birmingham) and Ball Is Life (Nottingham) – all carefully selected for their sporting skills and dynamic attitudes.

As well as starring in the hero film, comedy duo Ollie and Jacob also feature in a series of 30” product videos for TVC and social. The pair comment on the “vibes of the school attire”, featuring one liners such as “if they were a curry, they’d be a vindaloo” to describe their admiration for a pair of Adidas trainers. The TikTok stars playfully bicker in the clip as they rate their peers’ new season sports footwear, disagreeing over who has the coolest new kit in school.

The campaign creative was developed by MOX, who were appointed last September for Sports Direct’s first major Christmas campaign. Since then, the creative agency has delivered multiple campaigns for the retailer including Nike Running, Jordan Basketball, New Years and now School Starts Here. To ensure relevance with a culturally attuned teenage audience, Sports Direct has also teamed up with strategic insights agency, OnRoad, as part of a longer-term partnership – gathering cultural insights into what matters to young people in 2021, to deliver an authentic portrayal across all content.

Beckie Stanion, Chief Marketing Officer at Sports Direct said: “School has been the starting point for countless inspiring sports careers. For many, Sports Direct is where they pick up their first pair of football boots, PE kits or school kicks to empower them on their journey.

“After what has been a tremendously difficult school year interrupted by lockdowns and time apart from friends, we wanted to launch a campaign that encourages young people to return to school feeling confident, invincible and ready to take on the world. With the biggest and best range of back to school kit on the market, Sports Direct has everything you need to start the new school year in style.”

TikTok star Ollie Ball commented: “Although I’m gutted that Gareth Southgate left Ollie ‘The Wall’ Ball out of goal for the Euros, being signed by Sports Direct more than makes up for it. We are a team made in heaven. Well, technically Bolton.”

Jacob Pasquill commented: “We heard Sports Direct wanted to see if their school range was a Bobby Dazzler and I tell you what…it didn’t disappoint! Even though Ollie thought the 97 was the best, I thought the Nike triple blacks were Ding Dang Doo and you would never miss the bus running in them bad boys.”

Matt Bolton, Creative Director at MOX said: “For kids this year, back to school is like no other. From a year of remote learning, uncertainty and a lack of time with their friends in the classroom and on the pitch. We wanted to celebrate the feeling of being surrounded by your friends at school in the most authentic way possible. Real schools, real sports teams, real friends in front and behind the camera. Giving kids the platform to show off everything they have been training for during lockdown as they head back to school and back into team sports. Couple that with a cameo from the loveable heroes of the playground Ollie and Jacob – school really does start here.”

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