"Conversations Amongst Us", creative directed by Joe Freshgoods, honors the Black community and the natural conversations, verbal and non-verbal, that keep them connected. Additionally, the campiagn highlights the significance of communication as an act of archival for the Black community, while simultaneously encouraging new dialogue amongst everyone. Featuring New Balance brand ambassadors Kawhi Leonard, Storm Reid, Gabby Thomas, and Trayvon Bromell, the campaign aims to show how people are bonded through meaningul conversations and shared experiences.
Blending historical and cultural references, "Conversations Amongst Us" draws inspiration from unique gestures and words such as the head nod, dap and African American vernacular. To achieve the objectives the campaign explores the various styles of communication utilized within the Black community to show a collective respect and admiration for one another through video components.
The first video titled, "Nod", follows NBA Champion Kawhi Leonard and designer and creative director Joe Freshgoods through their non-verbal exchange of head nods and facial expressions upon meeting in a waiting area, with the pair acknowledging each other's sneakers and the ever-occuring mispronunciation of ethnic names. The second video titled, "Nails" features actress Storm Reid enaging in a conversation with a friend about the trajectory of her career in the ladies' room. Their conversation is met with a offputting stare from another woman entering the restroom, though the woman ultimately just wants to know who did Storm Reid's nails.
Additionally, “Conversations Amongst Us” was accompanied by a full range apparel and sneaker collection, produced and developed in collaboration with members of New Balance’s all-Black associate resource group, Black Soles. Following the release of the collection Joe Freshgoods took the campaign on the road for a intimate conversation in Atlanta where he expanded on his inspiration for the campaign, storytelling, historical references and the importance of communication.
"Conversations Amongst Us" achieved our intended result to honor the Black community during Black history month and beyond, to create positive and engaging dialogue and to show representation in sneaker culture. On social and video platforms (e.g. Instagram, Twitter and Youtube) various communities shared the significance of verbal and non-verbal communication in their interactions and how relatable the campaign was. "Nod" garnered 270k views and "Nails" garnered 134K views on Youtube. In addition to the the positive reaction to the visual content, the sneakers released alongside the campaign sold out out in under an hour.
Overall, the campaign showed through meaningful conversations and shared experiences, we are able to reflect and learn from each other, as well as provide a space for our thoughts, feelings and ideas. Due to the success and positive reactions "Conversations Amongst Us" is an ongoing campaign with more to follow in the near future.