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Sports Direct has taken a leaf out of the Nike playbook with ‘Just a Game?!’, a multi-million-pound Euro 2020 campaign that informs casual fans and people who couldn’t care less about football.

Fronted by none other than Eric Cantona, the TV, OOH, in-store, content, media and influencer program illustrates how the beautiful game has become a way of life for many.

Employing a host of top footballing talent for Cantona’s starting 11, the light-hearted £6m campaign debuted during the Uefa Champions League Final on BT Sport, with further stints during the Uefa European Football Championships on ITV, reaching an estimated audience of 29 million across the UK.

Audiences will be treated to the sight of Cantona decked out in a bespoke tailored suit fashioned by streetwear brand Clothsurgeon that was specially created for the continental tournament in partnership with the sporting goods retailer.

Delivered in partnership with football media business Copa and directed by Pensacola, ‘Just a Game?!’ delves beyond the stadium to show how sport can bond individuals and communities by channelling Britain’s favorite Frenchman.

The brainchild of creative director and ex-Leeds United player Rav Matharu, the dapper collection will be available to purchase in-store from June 11, offering discerning shoppers a choice between the usual 75% off garments and a custom tracksuit jacket and bottoms, vest and bucket hat, all featuring a colored patchwork panel upcycled from women’s and men’s national kits.

Beckie Stanion, chief marketing officer, said: “Football sits at the heart of communities up and down the UK, and the Euros gives us a platform to kickstart a new era of football for the brand in what’s going to be a bumper few years of international tournaments.

“Sports Direct is a place where many start their football journey – buying boots or their first shirt – and we know that was the case even for some of the stars in our advert. We want people to know that we’ve got the best kit for your game, regardless of whether you’re stepping out at Wembley or heading to your first five-a-side match.” 

In a press statement, Pensacola added: “This film is special. Not just because of football. But what the Euros mean now. After everything we’ve been through. It’s a celebration. A love letter to the game. The culture. The community. Coming together. And no one understands how important that is more than Sports Direct, the home of football in the UK. 2020 was a washout. But this summer, Sports Direct will own that epic sense of optimism when the Euros finally arrives.”

Alongside the television advert, a mix of taxi wraps, bus sides, pub packs with branded beermats and bunting will help spread the gospel of football far beyond Saturday afternoons.