Usually, the only thing that drops at a concert is the beat. Nike changed that last week when a special edition sneaker dropped exclusively for Kendrick Lamar fans attending the TDE Championship Tour at The Forum in Inglewood as part of a push toward interactive show buying.
The shoe hegemon has long been famous for anticipated releases, long lines, and marketing campaigns that turn most other brands green with envy. In conjunction with the SNKRS app, the brand decided to engage with its fans in a way it hadn’t before, to tap into this obsessive culture of sneakerheads, fashion blogs, and brand loyalty. Think of it as Pokemon Go, but for the latest LeBrons: an interactive altered reality experience.
“The whole thinking of what we focus on here is the idea of building emotional experience that build energy in a secret community,” explains Ron Faris the head of s23NYC Digital Studio, named for its spot on 23rd Street in New York.
Standing on a line waiting for Jordans may be a unique experience, but it’s something anyone can do. There’s something performative about it, about saying you had it first, but anyone can “have it first” if they know when the shoe drops and where to buy them.
Faris wanted sneakerheads to have a more personal experience, something more interactive that involved work beyond finding the nearest store.
“In our world, it’s just as important how you cop the shoe as the shoe itself and that’s because when you’re on Instagram and have a five-second attention span, there has to be something to break through,” Faris explains.
That’s where the app comes in. Last year, Nike partnered with famous restaurateur and celebrity chef David Chang for a limited-edition Momofuku shoe only available for purchase through the app when visiting one of Chang’s restaurants. Now add on the AR as part of what Nike calls SNKRS Stash. Someone has to know where to go to look for the shoe, use the app to hover the phone over the menu at the restaurant and then be prompted to buy it. It’s more like a video game than shopping experience, which is the entire point.