Cannes Lions

Mind Race

GOLIN, London / ASICS / 2022

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Supporting Content
Case Film

Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

In early 2022, following two years of pandemic-related restrictions, people’s mental health had never been more disrupted— an estimated 65% saying their mental health had declined since the pandemic in the UK alone (Mind.org.uk, 2021).

With pandemic fatigue rife, ASICS – a brand founded on the idea of ‘Sound Mind:Sound Body’ – understood the importance of keeping the nation and the world motivated to move for their mental health.

But the “exercise is good for you” conversation had become stale and obvious. To get people to move, an unmissable way to make the link between mental health and exercise was needed.

Our objectives:

• Increase top of mind awareness for the connection between physical movement and mental wellbeing

• Inspire people to exercise for their mental health

• Solidify public perception of ASICS as brand supporting mental wellness

Idea

The Mind Race. To show the world the true mental importance of movement, ASICS became the first sports brand to ask athletes not to exercise. Runners of all abilities, including an ex-Olympian, had their mental state tracked across a week of inactivity using cutting edge ‘Mind Uplifter’ technology, turning the focus from racing bodies to racing minds for the first time in sporting history.

After this week, live data-mapping visualised athlete’s mind states for the world to see – striking images carrying a serious message across language barriers – as movement scientist, Dr Brendan Stubbs, revealed drops in confidence (20%), positivity(16%), stress tolerance (22%), mental energy (23%) & a 23% increase in racing thoughts.

But the Mind Race also gave hope. Revealing just 15.09 minutes of exercise uplifts minds after inactivity, ASICS called on the world to move; sharing the Mind Uplifter online for anyone to track their transition.

Strategy

Working with Professor Brendon Stubbs, a leading researcher in movement and the mind, ASICS designed a first-of-its-kind experiment collecting individually submitted data looking to measure core shifts in mental state, from positivity to confidence to focus - and to decipher just how long it would take to reverse the effects of inactivity.

Over 3 weeks data was gathered using ASICS developed ‘Mind Uplifter’ technology, which combined AI facial scanning data with a series of scientifically designed questions to form a State of Mind score built from 10 cognitive and emotional metrics.

We then used real-time feedback on general brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and body movement with the use of EEG headsets at different stages of the experiment; capturing each participant’s scores to track the negative effect that a week without exercise would have on the individual.

Execution

Across 3 weeks, athletes had their mental states tracked pre, during and post the Mind Race using Mind Uplifter and EEG technology – their experience captured in a documentary film.

From March 30th, the film and stills of athlete’s racing minds were distributed to global news, sports and lifestyle media, along with the full scientific findings – highlighting compelling new hooks e.g. inactivity has the same mental impact of a week’s broken sleep.

Simultaneously journalists, athletes and influencers who participated in the Mind Race study published their experiences across social and earned channels, linking to the film and starting conversations with their communities which standardized the #asicsmindrace hashtag on social.

Links to the ASICS Mind Uplifter website were embedded in online coverage and social in support of traffic and organic SEO – supported by teaser cutdowns of the main documentary film across social.

Outcome

Tier 1:

Earned activity around Mind Race drove the largest spike in ASICS mental well-being mentions in the past 13 months – with a +377% increase during launch week alone compared to the weekly brand average

Earned outputs generated included:

Piece of Coverage: 777

Potential Reach: 1.8B

Mentions from 61 markets

100% positive coverage sentiment

Tier 2:

The campaign changed consumer perceptions and behaviours by driving awareness of the important connection between the body and the mind as well as motivating consumers to exercise:

91% of those exposed to the campaign agreed there is a strong connection between the mind and the body

70% felt motivated to move for their mental wellness

Perception of ASICS as a brand associated with mental well-being increased by 440%

Tier 3

Public exposed to campaign activity were 210% more likely to purchase ASICS products than those unexposed.

Campaign efforts drove a +22pt increase in share of mental well-being conversation amongst core competitors like Nike and Adidas who massively outspend ASICS 100 to 1.

An independent study by YouGov named ASICS one of the Top 10 Biggest Movers in the UK during the campaign time period (April 2022), citing significant increases in brand awareness, reputation, quality and advocacy - directly attributed to Mind Race campaign.

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