Who Will You Be?

Who Will You Be?
Dick’s Sporting Goods Takes Storytelling and Storymaking to a New Level with a Recent Series of Commercials Featuring the Tagline, “Who Will You Be?”

The full length commercial runs for about a minute and speaks to the audience with direct, almost prodding questions and statements:

Who will you be…when the choices you make make all the difference…The true tests, they don’t come easy. And they won’t last long. But that’s why you’re here, for these very moments…because there’s nothing that tests you like sports…

Engage the Senses

The images are close shots of athletes playing softball or hockey, running a football in the rain, lifting weights, or icing muscles. You can see the exertion and intensity on their faces, the grime on their jerseys. The visuals alone would tell a powerful story even if there were no narration at all.

The music adds to the emotional effect of the piece. It gradually builds before dropping off instantly to end the commercial in a moment of silence. The parting image is a young boy gazing at a trophy case. The question returns: Who will you be?

Inspire Your Audience to Action

This combination of storytelling, compelling visuals, and emotionally gripping music—all crammed into a one-minute spot—would make for a respectable commercial on its own. But the fact that the central message of the piece evokes audience emotion and kindles the imagination puts it over the top. This commercial literally has infinite possibilities because every audience member can make up his or her own story to answer the question: Who will you be? This promotion makes people believe they could be Olympians, professional athletes, the strongest in their class, the fastest at the marathon. Anything.

It’s Not About You

There isn’t one occurrence of the word “we” (as in Dick’s) in the entire commercial. The company’s logo appears at the end for one fleeting second. But the ideas and inspiration set forth in the commercial are more than enough to send us all running to the nearest sporting goods store (Dick’s hopes we’ll run to their stores).

The larger campaign includes eight additional commercials about 15 seconds each featuring specific sports. These mini moments don’t allow for the same storytelling arc and emotional ride as the longer piece, but they do pique interest and they’ll likely be useful for Dick’s to target specific markets by sport.

Hats off to Dick’s for a masterful storytelling effort. This approach caught our attention, and it must have struck a chord with audiences, too. #whowillyoube was trending on Twitter the day the commercial was released.

How might you prompt members to imagine amazing possibilities with the help of your organization?

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