Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?
We made the world’s first race without a finish line, across the sparsity of the Utah Salt Flats. Key journalists, influencers, and runners took on the challenge and experienced the ASICS’ longer perspective a running and the GLIDERIDE™ energy saving running shoe, in this once-in-a-lifetime activation. The brand-led experience later travelled the world via social, in-store, film and online, engaging customers at multiple touchpoints, and changed the ASICS brand preference in an impressive way.
ASICS faced a tough challenge. With technological advancements being made by brands previously known more for fashion than performance, key running audiences no longer saw ASICS as the clear winner in the performance running category, and sales were declining.
The new ASICS GLIDERIDE™ running shoe is ground-breaking innovation: a running shoe designed to help you save energy as you run.
OBJECTIVES: We needed to launch the GLIDERIDE™ into the crowded market and enhance ASICS’ reputation, reasserting them as the go-to brand for high-performance running. ASICS asked us to use the new innovative and energy saving shoe GLIDERIDE™, to build brand preference for ASICS amongst runners in key markets.
BRIEF: Specifically, they wanted us to:
• Drive fame for the brand
• Enhance perception of the brand as innovative
• Increase willingness to recommend • Increase brand value amongst consumers (willingness to pay more)
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
INSIGHT: What if the finish line holds us back from reaching our potential?
ASICS is an acronym for a sound mind in a sound body and the brand cares deeply for runners. How better to test the limits of your mind and our shoes, than taking all the other limits away?
SOLUTION: Eternal Run: The world’s first race without a finish line. In Utah Salt Flats we created the ultimate live product test for the GLIDERIDE™ shoe.
We invited 23 athletes, influencers and journalists to The Flats with no pacemakers and no finish line, to see how far they could run. Each was assigned a pace. When the whistle blew they would run at that pace until they couldn’t run anymore.
The brand experience would be a once-in-a-lifetime challenge for participants, leading to brand connection, social-sharing and documentary content: Later it would become the earned engine for the entire campaign.
Describe the strategy (20% of vote)
TARGET AUDIENCE: ASICS' target audience are real runners: they care about performance and challenging themselves.
Our choice of runners would ensure that this epic experience was valued by the participants and later shared with the whole world:
- Journalists ran, securing big titles.
- Established runners spoke to the hardcore running community.
- Influencers engaged wider online audiences.
STRATEGY: The sports world is obsessed with reaching finish lines. ASICS has a longer view on running. Rather than focusing on short term gains, ASICS wants to help people to a sound mind in a sound body, making a sound world. With this in mind, what if our focus on finish lines keep athletes from knowing what their minds and bodies are truly capable of?
We created short online campaign films to enable wide sharing and a 10-minute documentary to cover the whole experience.
Describe the execution (30% of vote)
To design this unique race, we collaborated with a group of leading experts; including world-renowned sport scientist Professor Samuele Marcora, ASICS RUNKEEPER™ data analysts, elite coaches and the ASICS Institute of Sport Science (ISS).
They assessed how far each runner was physically capable of running.
Runners were assigned a pace, based on ability.
When the whistle blew, runners had to make their pace and keep running. If they dropped below that pace, they would receive a warning. Three warnings and they were out.
In Utah, every element of the experience had to be transported and built out in the deserted flats. Social content was produced, edited and shared live, and we had the first film out just hours after the finished race.
Still images, short brand films and full 10-minute documentary were created to connect with different audiences, and participants began their outreach as soon as the race finished.
List the results (30% of vote)
Objective: Generate brand fame
Result: 1,74BN Earned Reach
Objective: Enhance perception of the brand as innovative and willingness to recommend.
• 82% have a more positive opinion of ASICS than before
• 70% would choose ASICS over other brands (+17 points)
• 69% of those previously unaware of the brand would recommend ASICS.
Objective: Want to pay more for ASICS products.
• 81% expressed purchase intent for the Glideride shoe
• 67% would pay more for ASICS products (+14 points)
• 80% believe ASICS is reinventing running (+23 points)
• 49% thinks ASICS is an innovative brand (+19 points)
• The main reason behind the idea was to build brand preference, but yet the campaign also contributed with an 81% purchase intent.
• Using Glideride 71% of the runners ran further than predicted, which was spread around the world.
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