In 1999, ASICS® launched a high-cushioned shoe named GEL-Nimbus®. It quickly gained a cult following among marathon and long-distance runners who loved its low weight and high cushioning. Loyalists would buy a pair, wear them out, then eagerly buy the next edition. Despite its great run through the decades, many fans were disappointed by GEL-Nimbus® 19 and the line risked losing its loyalists. So, ASICS® moved quickly to create a 20th edition with an improved fit—now we just had to tell our fans about it.
From the first edition on, GEL-Nimbus® has had quite the run. We wanted to celebrate not only the milestone 20th edition but the 19 that came before. Our idea? To create an energetic product video—The Run to 20—starring 20 real runners in 20 GEL-Nimbus® 20's. The video begins with our hero runner making her way through the city. The numbers 1-19 (symbolizing the past editions) are seen throughout her run, on everything from graffiti to street signs. As she passes each number, runners join her one by one. Throughout the video, we featured GEL-Nimbus® 20 beauty shots, new product features and the latest ASICS® apparel. As the running crew grows, the momentum builds—ending with a picture-perfect finish as 20 pairs of shoes step over the number 20.
First, we shut down the Gaslight neighborhood of Vancouver for our shoot and let our 20 ASICS®-clad runners have their run of the town.
To ensure all of the numbers featured in our video were dynamic and interesting, we used a mix of practical art and CGI. On shoot day, the team spray-painted, applied decals and even installed address signs by hand. The rest of the numbers were achieved with rotoscoping and CGI.
We conducted social listening to build up an arsenal of why fans love their Nimbus, as well as to audit the features of the Nimbus 19 that did not meet expectations. This allowed us to proactively highlight the things we knew fans would be most eager to know about.
We also knew that there's a strong community of runners on social channels like Instagram and Twitter, so we wanted to ensure the word of mouth and recommendations sparked by the Nimbus20 social content would be positive by creating the #InstaRunners tag.
We knew we had to find ways to make the new tech accessible and relevant for runners. Rather than focusing too much on specific materials and tech terms, we highlighted the end benefits for runners – especially that highly-anticipated "improved fit".