Top Spot of the Week: Arnold Worldwide Looks To Generate Youth Sports Participation With "Don’t Retire, Kid" PSA


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019


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Last year, only 38% of kids ages 6 to 12 played team sports on a regular basis, part of a downward trend according to research from the Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative. Instead of mitigating the problem, organized youth sports teams are actually contributing to it; from excessive injuries to burnout to discouragement and demoralization, the pressures and demands are actually forcing them out. And not to mention the lack of access for kids whose parents can’t afford league fees, uniforms and travel costs. 

Boston-based Arnold Worldwide, international non-profit Aspen Institute, and ESPN have teamed up to launch “Don’t Retire, Kid,” a public service campaign designed to keep more kids in the game. The creative from Arnold underscores the overwhelming number of children who are “retiring” from sports prematurely, attributed to the pressures, stress and rising costs associated with playing sports, which detract kids from the joy and fun they should be experiencing from the game.

“To address this issue head-on, we teamed up with the Aspen Institute and ESPN to develop this creative in a way that compels parents and coaches to introspect and ask themselves: am I part of the problem?” said Icaro Doria, chief creative officer at Arnold. “By inviting Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Sue Bird, Mookie Betts and other respected athletes into the conversation, we’re hoping to create an impact that’s even bigger than ourselves by encouraging kids to stay in the game.”

Directed by The Hudson Dusters of Greenpoint Pictures, the first PSA in the series spotlights a young boy announcing his retirement from sports, and debuted on ESPN this past Sunday (8/4) during SportsCenter. The PSA was then followed by an interview on SportsCenter with former NBA star Bryant, lead spokesperson of the campaign.

The campaign is also backed by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, U.S. Tennis Association, and other members of Project Play 2020, a group of 20 leading organizations in sports, media, health, technology and retail who have come together to grow national sport participation rates.


Client Project Play 2020, Aspen Institute, ESPN Agency Arnold Worldwide Kiran Smith, CEO, Icaro Doria, chief creative officer, content; James Bray, executive creative director; Zamile Vilakazi, EVP, head of integrated production; Justin Galvin, VP, creative director, copy; Sam Mullins, VP, creative director/art; Paul Shannon, SVP, executive producer; Molly Chisholm, sr. brand strategist. Production Greenpoint Pictures The Hudson Dusters, directors; Luke Stevens, producer; Nathan Swingle, DP; Tatiana Rudzinski, Trevor King, exec producers. Editorial Exile Edit Matt Murphy, editor; Charlotte Delon, producer.

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