Responses by Daniel Busch, creative director, AKQA
Background: To launch the new Air Max shoe model in Japan, Nike wanted to empower youth communities and celebrate their creativity with the product—in a time where consumers were mostly confined at home. Knowing that our main target was a tight-knit sneakerhead community, with a focus on young female audiences, we thought, what if we could give them the opportunity to express themselves with Air Max in an unprecedented way? To do that, we launched Create with Air Max, an AR-enabled zine that allows consumers to customize the latest Air Max model and see their creations come alive. The content experience comes inside a physical zine that celebrates Air Max–inspired creativity, including original stories, styles and designs from local creators.
Reasoning: We wanted to tap into the revolutionary spirit of the product and bring its essence to life in different ways. The inspiration for the idea came from a desire to reimagine the customization process with the magic of Air Max, making the process even more personal, creative and fun. So we turned the shoe into a blank canvas, and invited people to design it in the air, in their own way.
Challenges: The restrictions resulting from the global pandemic served as one of the main inspirations for the idea, but also brought us some natural challenges from a production perspective. In the end, managing and directing the production process with the constraints we had was both challenging and rewarding.
Favorite details: This project aims to reimagine the future of the customization process with AR. As a result, we were able to help Nike connect with consumers in a truly meaningful way by allowing them to stay positive and continue expressing their creativity during these uncertain times.
Visual influences: The main visual influence came from the product itself. The Nike Air Max is a symbol of creativity and an infinite source of inspiration for us. The iconic sneaker has changed the world forever by making the invisible visible. This was something we wanted our consumers to experience with the offline-to-online AR content, which allowed them to literally see their creations coming to life in the air, in real time.
Anything new: Constraints can actually reveal unique opportunities for us to continue creating a better future.