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    Dick’s Sporting Goods heads back to school on Roblox

    • Dick’s Sporting Goods has launched an interactive space on the popular gaming and metaverse platform Roblox, per a news release.
    • Dubbed “School of Sport,” the experience focuses on sports and style as it takes users through a virtual high school where they can rack up currency to purchase back-to-school gear for their avatars. The launch coincides with the brand’s new “Sport Your Style” campaign.
    • Roblox has become an increasingly popular with brands hoping to reach young consumers, with brands from Chipotle to Gucci having launched activations on the platform.

    Unlike some marketers gearing up for the back-to-school shopping season, Dick’s Sporting Goods is hoping to reach kids, not their parents, with its latest marketing push. While Amazon targets parents with commercials on how it’s OK to spend less and Target expands deals, the sporting goods company is emphasizing sports, style and cool on a platform whose core demographic group is children aged 9 to 15 years old.

    As inflation grows, parents can expect to pay an average of $661 per child for back-to-school needs. Whether it’s parents or kids that influence how back-to-school dollars are spent is up for debate. One study found that 60% of parents say their children are influenced by social media on what to buy for back-to-school, and 52% of parents say they feel pressured to buy their children what they want, even if it’s more than what they would typically spend.

    Dick’s virtual high school is made up of six distinct areas: The Locker Room, which acts as a sort of orientation for users as well as The Field, The Hallways, The Gymnasium and The Outdoor Cafeteria. The final area has to be uncovered through exploration. Each student will be equipped with their own locker and can use in-experience currency known as “style points” to purchase gear for their avatar.

     

    Along with collecting points, users can socialize with one another and collect stickers and badges by completing quests, an obstacle course and other challenges. Leaderboard rankings are present and could inspire friendly competition.

    “It is important for us to continue evolving the way we engage with consumers. We are excited to make our entrance into the Metaverse with ‘School of Sport,’ creating a space to share sport and style while also connecting with our younger athletes,” said Ed Plummer, CMO at Dick’s Sporting Goods, in a press release.

    While the true metaverse is still evolving, Roblox already acts as a virtual playground for young people to chat with friends and play games. Brands frequently release advergames, which act as a subtle advertisement for young consumers. Such games were the subject of a 2022 Federal Trade Commission complaint that alleges they lure unwitting consumers into granting brands access to their personal data and money. Roblox has stated it has strict rules and monitoring in place to prevent the exploitation of users.

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