R/GA, Portland / NIKE / 2022
Nike has always been at the forefront of technology, leveraging innovation as a way to help people push further. And while the brand remains dedicated to helping athletes get faster, we used innovation in a way that helps more athletes run, period.
Because while many people love the sport, Gen Z women struggle to relate to the highly competitive, elite running scene. To bring them in, we needed to reframe how they see it.
By designing the world’s first real-time AR run, we helped athletes look at running through a new lens, creating a more inviting, less serious vision for the future of sports. Our goal was to experiment with new ways to get people moving while reaffirming Nike as an innovative, technology-forward brand.
Design a run that allows athletes to see running through a new lens in a way by leveraging augmented reality in a way that had never been done before. For our runners, we took familiar raceday staples like pacers and time trials, and reimagined them in fun ways to lower the barrier of entry and make the sport feel a lot less serious.
Our goal was to create a more inviting vision for the future of running, and sports in general.
With rigid training programs, trackers for everything from our mile splits to our heart rates, and being asked to set some kind of record every time we lace up, athletes (especially ones new to the sport) are being pushed away. For Gen Z women in particular, running that’s driven by intensity and competition isn’t inviting or inspiring, but they’re still looking for more reasons to get involved.
This inspired us to rethink running and give athletes new reasons to do it, starting by changing the perspective of what the sport could be. Through a digital-first experience, we could make just a run feel like anything but.
Just A/Run first launched in New York as a one-mile run with real-time AR features from start to finish, starting at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park and ending at the Nike Store in Williamsburg.
Runners wore Snap’s newest Spectacles to capture the entire run through a unique, augmented reality lens, allowing them to experience running in a new way. During the run, we transformed typical coaching prompts into fun AR that took their minds off of running—like a pacer pidgeon to show them the way, speed trails to make fast more fun, and tempo rings to help push the pace.
The run included plenty of encouragement, too. Like a plant shooting into the sky, creatures cheering you on from the East River, and sky messages over Manhattan—all together helping people rethink how they view running.
While the A/R run experience was technically in beta and trial was limited to this one event, the consumer response was overwhelmingly positive, with 99% of runners saying that it changed the way they saw the sport and would run more frequently if wearable content like this became widely available.
Also, with 45k organic views on social, it seems our runners weren’t alone, paving the way for Nike and Snapchat to make this experience available to everyone. Which isn’t just the beginning of a transformation in running, it’s a revolution in the future of sport itself.
THE JUPITER DRAWING ROOM, Johannesberg