Dick’s Sporting Goods Heads Back To School On Roblox

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Unlike some marketers gearing up for the back-to-school shopping season, Dick’s Sporting Goods hopes 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 emphasizes sports, style and cool on a platform whose core demographic group is children 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 parents or kids 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 comprises six distinct areas: The Locker Room, which acts as a sort of orientation for users and 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 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 to continue evolving how we engage with consumers. We are excited to enter 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 subtle advertisements 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 data and money. Roblox has stated it has strict rules and monitoring in place to prevent the exploitation of users.