How do you truly test out the new Nike React shoes? By running in them, of course. But traditional product trial experiences, in-store, are dull, forgetful and not something people typically look forward to. We didn’t just want to take Nike fans on a same-old-same-old run—Nike wanted to create a product trial experience for their new React trainers that people would never forget.
The React shoes feature an improved, extra durable base that provides an even greater energy return than the previous models. The launch activation had to showcase all of the shoe’s attributes: durability, flexibility, energy return and convey the feeling when wearing them - like running on clouds. All this paired with a product tryout and a way to customise the experience for every user.
For the launch of the new Nike React running shoes, we hacked in-store trials and created a real-time video game, played by running.
The creative idea was to create a retro-style pixel art game, looking back at the classics such as Mario Bros or Sonic the Hedgehog games, where the mechanics are simple but extremely entertaining and addictive.
To take the immersion to the next level we transformed each individual player into a pixelart version, ultimately recreating the player inside the game. The hero would be constantly running, directly reflecting what the player is doing - jogging on a real treadmill as they play so that the player felt like they were within the game.
Players competed on a leaderboard in an attempt to run around the globe, visiting different parts of the world and witnessing all kinds of React-themed wonders that represented the attributes of the shoe (soft, light, and bouncy), with players rewarded with a customised shareable. “Reactland” was an immersive experience installed in Nike stores around China, and then extended through to Berlin and Dubai.
The experience was initiated in-app, driving customers in-store where they were met by a Nike brand ambassador and using a green screen, we snapped images of each player so we could place a personalised avatar directly into the game.
Then we invited them to strap on a pair of Nike React shoes and run on a treadmill so they were moving through the game as their avatar and using a hand controller we linked to the experience to jump through the course, the aim was to get as far as they could in the game. The further they got, the higher up the global leaderboard they went. The virtual world harkened back to old school games like Super Mario Brothers, but with a modern twist—they ran through streets, jumped over obstacles and climbed up buildings.
Players left the experience with a customized 10-second video of themselves running through "Reactland" to share on social media. In some markets players could even take home a customizable T-shirt with their avatar playing in the game and of course, there was an opportunity to snag their own pair of React trainers when the game was finished.
The concept neatly brought together all the objectives for the campaign in one experience: a product trial, a memorable customer experience with personalisation and a shareable at the end to drive product awareness. We focused on using interactive technologies to deliver a fun, engaging and social experience.
The ‘Reactland’ retail installation for the Nike React trainer launch across nine different markets was wildly successful, with 48% of players purchasing the React trainers after the in-store experience. In China players ran an astonishing 30,000km and the activation was so big it featured on BBC News.
Nike wanted to create a product trial experience for their new React trainers that people would never forget. So we hacked in-store trials and created a real-time video game, played by running.