2018 Brand Experience & Activation


Category E01. Launch / Re-launch
Production UNIT9 London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Jamie Cordwell Edelman Creative Director
Anuj Shah Edelman Copywriter
Denesh Agnihotri Edelman Art Director
Waiming Wee Edelman Producer
Mattias Ronge Edelman Deportivo / Edelman Executive Creative Director
Lucy Melling Edelman Managing Director
Emma Zadravetz Edelman Project Manager
James Murray UNIT9 Executive Producer
Ulla Winkler UNIT9 Executive Producer
Sean Pruen UNIT9 Director
Jade Alexander UNIT9 Producer
Frazer Howie UNIT9 Art Director
Natalie Steiner UNIT9 Production Manager
Simon Little UNIT9 Sound Design
Greg & Jacob UNIT9 Film Director
Harry Starkey-Midha UNIT9 Film Producer
James Donovan Edelman Agency Team
Harriet Persse Edelman Agency Team
Tiernan Silcok Edelman Agency Team
Zarren Siddiqui Edelman Agency Team
Harriet Muddiman Edelman Agency Team
Alex Cobb Edelman Agency Team
Jack Hancock Edelman Agency Team
Stefan Ronge Edelman Deportivo / Edelman CCO

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation ?

Blackout Track is the world’s first running track for the mind. We created a live sport experience like no other, and then leveraged the experience to create unskippable live, film and social content for the running community, communicating the ASICS brand message in truly innovative way. Social content, in-store environment, talent-led live activation, microsite and Runkeeper app Blackout edition, combined to deliver a cohesive brand experience for consumers at every touchpoint. Global reach= +2.2BN , sales increase =125%.


Situation ASICS used to be the only running shoe brand that was devoted to innovation. Nowadays all big shoe brands talk about the technology in their shoes, in similar voices, demonstrating what it does for a runner’s body. Brief ASICS – an acronym for a sound mind in a sound body – asked us to launch the new shoe GEL-KAYANO 25, a shoe packed with technology, but not hugely different from GEL-KAYANO 24. Objectives 10 percent sales increase compared to last year’s model GEL-KAYANO 24 (similar budget) Engage and intrigue runner community online. 150 million in earned media coverage

Describe the creative idea

Insight The ASICS GEL-KAYANO 25 is a running shoe so advanced, that the only thing holding runners back is their minds. While Fitbits, music and scenery pamper the mind, inadvertently making it more injury prone, ASICS believes in strengthening it. What if we could find a way to highlight this fact to the running world, making them look at their mind as a runners' muscle and putting our shoe at the center of the conversation? Creative Idea Blackout Track. We built the world’s first runner’s track to train the mind. Together with sport scientists, we constructed an indoor track with no music - pink noise speakers to create an audio vacuum, no tech - removed with metal detectors, no scenery, no starting-line and no finish line. Journalists, influencers and talent lined up to take part in the experience and to help us spread our message over the world.

Describe the strategy

Most runner shoe brands focus on helping bodies to move faster. To use our Japanese heritage – ASICS is an acronym for a sound mind in a sound body – and start an emotionally relatable conversation on long distance running, we wanted to highlight that running is a mental sport. Because when you have the best shoes, it is the mind that will hold you back. So what if runners should train their minds and not only their bodies? Approach Together with sport scientists we built a 150M runner’s track to train the mind. We handpicked the right journalists, influencers and talent from markets all over the world. We secured own production on the site, making sure that we had content production throughout the experiment. We even set out to find out how much of the speed that could be attributed to the mind (around 5%).

Describe the execution

The track ran for 4 days. Journalists, influencers and talent in turn ran the ASICS Blackout Track, - making it a very personal live experience. We had a partly prerecorded launch film ready for release on day 1, together with press material, high res images and ongoing content with our running influencers and talent. Additionally, our professor designed a scientific experiment to measure how big the impact of the mind is when running, by testing runners with and without distractions. Results of the experiment were released a couple of weeks after the live event, proving that the mind accounts for 5 percent of performance on tracks. So that anyone in the world could try a blackout run, we introduced a Blackout Edition in Runkeeper, turning off music and notifications. The track was the entertaining engine for the whole campaign, powerful enough to drive advertising, in store, digital, social.

List the results

Blackout Track was ASICS’ most successful shoe launch of all time. Glance: - Sales Increase: 125% (Target =10% increase, compared with the 2017 shoe launch ) - Earned Reach: 2.2 Billion (Target = 150 Million) - Runkeeper Blackout Edition App: 170,000 Downloads Full: Journalists, influencers, runners and Internet at large loved the track, and we counted an earned reach of 2.2 billion. In many places, including Sky News live, the ASICS brand promise of a Sound Mind in a Sound Body was explicitly called out. The Blackout edition in Runkeeper was downloaded 170 000+ times in one week, globally. After massive uptake, it's now a permanent feature in the app. Online awareness and engagement in the campaign idea, had direct sales impact. Without any ground breaking new features, or larger budget, the sales went up by 125 percent for GEL-KAYANO 25, compared to GEL-KAYANO 24 launched the year before.