This campaign demonstrated a clear understanding of both the market and the Decathlon brand itself. PR Agency One used sustained insight to drive creativity and create strong results, leading to an increase in brand loyalty and awareness.


  • Historic England
    Irreplaceable: A History of England in 100 Places
  • LeedsBID, Leeds International Piano Competition and The University of Leeds
    Leeds City of the Piano
  • Manifest
    The beautiful game meets the world’s greatest game
  • Munch
    The West End in Your Living Room
  • Museum of London
  • The Playbook and ECB
    The South Asian Action Plan

Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

Sports retailer Decathlon has 44 UK stores. A relatively small footprint compared to main industry players. Their annual ‘Notoriety Report’ revealed that though they punch above their weight in trading figures, their brand awareness falls short.

It was our job to secure high quality coverage in the UK’s sporting, lifestyle and national media, to increase awareness of the brand and its mission to make sport accessible to all.

In short – we needed take their health and fitness message to as many people as possible.

The idea, research and planning:

Target audience: Everyday people (rather than dedicated sports enthusiasts and athletes).

Two main strategies drove the campaign:

  1. The Decathlon Activity Index – A campaign to make Decathlon famous for tracking the UK’s exercise levels, comprised of onsite content, research and two innovative and original stories per month.

A monthly survey of 7,000 people across the UK, the sports they played, their exercise regimes and motivations.

This gave us a rich source of clear, up-to-date consumer insight on the UK’s health and fitness habits. Original research that we drew upon to create two innovative and original surveys every month.

  1. A hard working press office focused on product releases and ‘Priority Product Categories’. Hero brands such as Quechua, Kalenji and Subea.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

We used creativity to interpret the data every month and tell timely, relevant stories about the exercise habits of everyday people and families.

News stories included:

  • ‘The Death of the Beach Bum’- A story identifying a shift away from fly-and-flop holidays towards more active trips
  • ‘The Price of Children Playing Sports in Schools is Revealed’ – It costs £54 on average to kit out a child ahead of the new
    school year
  • Only 7% Cycle to Work’-Why despite government investment so few are commuting to work by bike
  • ‘The Beautiful Game’- How England’s impressive World Cup performance inspired a new generation to take up football.

The data was also applied to intelligently decide a focus for product placement every month.


The high volume of fresh and topical insight generated gave us constant streams of eye-catching, interesting and relevant news stories, infographics and product trend data.

With detailed information about participation in sports and exercise being generated every month, there were virtually endless opportunities to secure relevant, high profile news coverage.

The Activity Index was also a rich content bank used by sports enthusiasts, sports industry insiders, Decathlon staff to identify trends and changes in the way UK adults exercise and enjoy sport.

It was also shared with stakeholders such as British Heart Foundation, Sport England and The NHS.

Measurement and evaluation:

Regular Reputation Impact Reports (alongside the OneEval reports) delivered no shortage of performance transparency.

Deep, unique analysis, the latest reports show that, six months into PR activity, Decathlon:-

  • Overtook two key competitors in ‘notoriety’ (Decathlon’s measure of brand awareness) in the UK and overtook both two key competitors in search engine visibility (as measured by
  • An increase in people associating the Decathlon brand with promoting the health benefits of sport and exercise (this now indexes as 11, compared with 5) – including those aimed at promoting sport to all – e.g. associations with products for women (up from 8 to 13).
  • Brand awareness increased 53% year on year
  • There was a 25% increase in revenue from organic traffic on the Decathlon website
  • Organic traffic to the Decathlon website has increased 26% year on year.

That’s not to say the rest of the campaign performance hasn’t been incredibly successful too:

  • 315 pieces of coverage secured in just six months
  • 79% of coverage secured contained the agreed key messages

70% of total Engaged Audience Reach came from 32 ‘most visible’ articles generated – with The Sun, Independent, Mail Online and Telegraph having been key to delivering the increased reach over Q2 and Q3 2018 – a combined circulation of over 2.5 billion

  • 114 pieces of coverage in national newspapers, their websites and national broadcast media
  • 121 links generated to the Decathlon website with an average domain authority of 36/100
  • Coverage highlights: The Sun | The Independent | Eurosport | The Mirror | Daily Express | Daily Telegraph | Women’s Health.

Hero brand year on year increases in brand awareness include:
Kalenji +279%
Domyos +150%
Quecha +74%
Subea +54%

Budget and campaign impact:

Although Decathlon has an established presence in the UK, it had a relatively little ‘voice’ – meaning its mission of making sport accessible to all was not being heard.

We’ve given them a much bigger voice. One which has begun to overtake key competitors. Quickly and effectively.

We’ve also developed the depth of this voice – increasing the rate of consumers associating Decathlon with promoting the health benefits of exercise and providing expertise and products for women participating in sport.

How this massive rise in awareness plays out by way of increased uptake in sport and activity is being measured on an ongoing basis in the Decathlon Activity Index – now a recognised benchmark on sports participation, time committed to sports, the nature of sports enjoyed, the sentiment towards activity and how Decathlon is contributing to people’s improved lifestyles.

2.1 billion people experiencing positive messages about sport and exercise? It can only be a good thing for the UK’s health as a whole.