Nike store prepares virtual outdoor adventure with mobile technology
- Nike and retail experience agency Hovercraft Studio have developed an in-store activation that simulates an outdoor expedition while keeping COVID-19 safety protocols in mind, according to details shared with the sister post. Dive marketing.
- Currently available at Nike’s NYC House of Innovation and through February 11, the experience seeks to recreate the feeling of visiting Smith Rock State Park in Oregon. A geo-fenced microsite serves as a “base camp” for visitors, who can use the mobile site to access a map and checklist of activities that require augmented reality (AR) and QR code scanning.
- Once users have fully explored the activation, they are rewarded with physical goodies and an AR model of the new ACG Hiker shoe. The effort comes as experiences that mix physical and digital elements — sometimes called “phygital” marketing — are in increasing demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Overview of the dive:
COVID-19 has presented considerable challenges to experiential marketing, but Nike’s latest work with Hovercraft shows how mobile can help brands execute in-person activations more securely. The concept deploys a number of tactics, including augmented reality, QR codes and geofencing, to ensure that contact with physical surfaces and other people remains minimal, while leveraging these same technologies to create a more wide around Nike’s ACG HO20 line of outdoor products. Nike is also organizing a similar experience in its Parisian flagship.
The experience includes virtual animals like foxes, snakes and bald eagles to further the immersion, as well as physical accessories like a terrarium containing Nike products, as shown in a video posted by Hovercart. During the trip, users can scan an in-store QR code to access an AR Yeti that sports a reimagined version of the old-school ACG Hiker shoe. Nike+ members also receive an ACG canteen and sticker pack.
In a press release, Hovercraft — which has long worked with Nike on technology-driven experiences — suggested the pandemic has caused experiential marketers to think beyond transaction-driven activities.
“While many brands trade off experience design for security and other logistical priorities, we’re trying to strike a balance,” the agency said, noting later that the mobile-first approach avoids problems such as frequent cleaning of surfaces.
Despite greater success in the retail category, Nike plans to expand its in-store footprint while prioritizing digital, which now accounts for a quarter of its sales in North America. On a recent conference call with investors, Nike executives said the company’s membership program has added 70 million new users globally since the COVID-19 crisis began.
Nike is now placing a more focused emphasis on its ACG collection, as interest in outdoor activities that incorporate social distancing has exploded during the pandemic.