Brand Experience and Activation > Brand Experience & Activation: Sectors

BLACKOUT TRACK

EDELMAN, London / ASICS / 2019

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Overview

Credits

Overview

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.

The combination of social content, in-store environment, talent-led live activation, the microsite and Runkeeper app Blackout edition, allowed us to deliver a cohesive brand experience for consumers at every touchpoint, communicating the ASICS brand message in an innovative and authentic way.

Global reach = +2.2BN

Sales increase = 125%

Background

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 asked us to launch the new shoe GEL KAYANO 25, a shoe packed with technology, but not hugely different from GEL KAYANO 24. Our job was to come up with the creative idea to achieve cut through and making a success of the shoe launch, despite the relatively minimal product changes.

Objectives:

-10 percent sales increase compared to last year’s model (the GEL KAYANO 24)

-Engage and intrigue the runner community online

-Generate 150 million in earned media coverage

Describe the creative idea

The ASICS GEL-KAYANO 25 is a running shoe so advanced, 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 to the running world, making them look at their mind as a runner's muscle and putting our shoe at the centre of the conversation? Our answer to that question was the Blackout Track. We built the world’s first running 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

Our target audience, experienced runners, care about performance and running shoes are getting more tech advanced.

Research and interviews confirmed that most brands communicate tech the same way, with similar benefits. To runners, it’s almost impossible to distinguish one brand from another in terms of product benefits.

So instead, we applied a cultural perspective:

If running shoes are technologically perfected, what is holding runners back today?

In our busy lives we silence our minds, binge watching Netflix or numbing ourselves on our iphones. When we run, we have one eye on our apple watch/phone/fitbit and our ears plugged with music or podcasts. Tech is pampering runners’ minds, making the mind softer while our legs get stronger.

ASICS is an acronym for a sound mind in a sound body.

For the first time in ASICS history, we decided to look at the mind like any runner’s muscle.

Describe the execution

Blackout Track ran for 4 days.

Journalists, influencers and talent tried the Track for 20 minutes each - making it a very personal live experience.

We had a partly pre-recorded launch film going out on the first day, together with press material, high res images and ongoing content with our running influencers and talent.

On day 3 and 4, we organised a scientific experiment to see how big of a role the mind plays when running. The results of the experiment were released a couple of weeks after the live event itself, proving that the mind accounts for 5% of performance on tracks.

To make sure anyone in the world could try a blackout run, we introduced a Blackout Edition of the Runkeeper app, turning off music and notifications.

The track was the earned engine for the whole campaign, powerful enough to drive advertising, in store, digital, and 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:

We achieved earned reach of 2.2 billion and in lots of places (e.g. Sky News live) ASICS brand promise of a Sound Mind in a Sound Body was highlighted.

Coverage was highly brand relevant for ASICS, as well as big in numerics.

Influencers and ambassadors lined to take part. The quotes spread through social media were remarkable.

The Blackout edition in Runkeeper is now a permanent feature in the app.

Without GEL-KAYANO 25 having any ground breaking new features, or the budget being larger than the year before, the sales went up with 125 percent for GEL-KAYANO 25 compared to GEL-KAYANO 24 the year before.

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