Unite the union


In 2016, Unite the union began an online petition to spread awareness of Sports Direct's unfair working practices.

The retail giant had been exposed for its draconian working conditions for warehouse workers and staff surviving on zero-hour contracts.

Unite wanted to spread awareness of the practices and put pressure on Sports Direct to change their conditions.

The Challenge

The aim of the petition was to gain enough signatures on the petition to make both Sports Direct and UK parliament take notice.

Unite wanted to reach people who would be willing to sign the petition, even if it did not affect them directly.

They also wanted the petition to reach the Polish speaking population who make up a significant percentage of the workforce in the Sports Direct Shirebrook head office.

The Solution

The petition was shared through promoted tweets and Facebook advertising over a short blast campaign, the first few days being used to raise awareness of the issues and gain signatures.

The campaign involved targeting Newcastle and Rangers FC’s Mike Ashley, Sports Direct’s owner; people who already like or follow Sports Direct on both channels, and a third group of people who were interested in or aware of trade unions.

Following the awareness phase, a second wave of adverts was promoted to inform of the ‘day of action’ protests outside stores.

Facebook adverts targeting Polish speakers in the Shirebrook area were also rolled out, advising them of their basic rights and the benefits of joining a Union.


The petition saw great success, gaining over 20,000 signatures and pushing the Sports Direct scandal into national headlines.


people reached


conversion rate on Facebook


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of the signature target reached (20,000+ signatures)