HomeTHE HOTTEST TOPICSGem Retail Hotlist 2019Gem Retail Hotlist: Stirling Sports makes a point

Gem Retail Hotlist: Stirling Sports makes a point


Stirling Sports took out ‘Hottest marketing campaign’ at the Gem Retail Hotlist with ‘Prove Them Wrong’. We found out more about the zeitgeisty campaign.

Most high-street retailers will focus on brand awareness when marketing, so it was a real breath of fresh air to see Stirling Sports aligning themselves not with strong branding but a strong ethical position in their ‘Prove them wrong’ campaign.

The run-away success of the campaign, launched in July, could have been driven by Stirling Sports partnership with award-winning creative agency Motion Sickness. Arguably though, fresh off the heels of Taika Waititi’s comments around racism in New Zealand and the atrocities committed in Christchurch in March this year, the campaign has captured a feeling among Kiwis, a zeitgeist or movement toward wider acceptance of diversity among the population.

So, what’s that got to do with buying sportswear? Well, diversity in sport continues to be topical, as Israel Folau has kindly reminded us, and shoppers are increasingly more likely to align their wallets with brands that speak to their personal beliefs, not just the ones they see the celebrities wearing. This campaign shows that Stirling Sports aren’t just looking to push stock, but want their customer to know that as a company they’ve got their back. 

The campaign shows real New Zealanders offering up their talents in the face of abusive comments, with ageism, sexism, racism, homophobia and anti-faith sentiment some of the types of xenophobia highlighted in the TVC. The campaign offers participants to turn the tables, showing why they’ve succeeded and asking the viewer to ‘write your own rulebook’.

Stirling Sports’ message is clear. There is no room for prejudice in sport, and there is no room for prejudice in New Zealand. This is a brand that supports the right of Kiwis to enjoy their own, individual version of success. 

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 764 October/November 2019.

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