Art, sport and technology. Nike have a rich heritage of innovation. From producing the world’s most cutting edge athletic product, to creating ground breaking advertising campaigns, the iconic brand have been pushing the sportswear category forward for decades. In October 2013, Nike’s Energy Department tasked us with launching their latest running innovation, the Hyperfeel trainer. The Energy department primarily focus on influential, hard-to-reach, creatively savvy consumers meaning our launch activities would need to be carefully considered and culturally authentic to gain any attention. Designed to be as close to barefoot running as possible, The Hyperfeel’s core benefit was about heightening the sensation of feel. Using this as our starting point, we set about researching the world of ‘feel’, sensation and tactility in relation to art, technology and sports.
We launched an innovative new product in a suitably innovative way
Touch is the most trusted of all senses. It is the first language and the last and it always tells the truth.
Margaret Atwood, author
Hub of exploration. Nike’s London Lab space was transformed into a dramatic hub of exploration, innovation and celebration featuring installations from Universal Everything, Rhizomatiks, Quayola + Sinigaglia and Daniel Widrig. There were also talks from Nike designers and international athletes and day long workshops from designers and artists — all exploring the sensation of feel.
Feel of London. Designer Ben Drury, sound artist Yuri Suzuki and running group Run Dem Crew lead 19 participants through a workshop that aimed to capture the feel of a London run. Each participant was fitted with a recorder that took in the different sounds heard as they went on a 5km run around East London. In addition to this participants took images and rubbings of interesting surfaces and textures encountered enroute. Once back in the Lab, Yuri mixed all the recordings into a track and pressed them to vinyl, while Ben lead participants in creating their own album covers.
Feel of fashion. The second featured workshop saw fashion designer Bart Hess lead a workshop that playfully explored tactility in footwear. The group set off on a 5km run around East London making notes and observations about the various sensations their feet felt on all the different surfaces they encountered. Once back at the Lab, Bart led the group in exploring and exaggerating those sensations using a variety of materials and textiles, to create their own concept shoe. Participants then modelled their shoes in motion on a green screen treadmill. Photographing them this way enable Bart to replace the backgrounds and create brilliant final images.
Feel TV — A world first broadcast. A world first broadcast. The 10 day programme culminated in a live and interactive 2.5 hour broadcast by digital artists Hellicar & Lewis. Viewers online could interact and affect how the broadcast visually felt by tweeting commands as the evening progressed. Presented by Miquita Oliver and Stewart Hammond, the broadcast featured live performances from London Contemporary Orchestra, English National Ballet, Benga and Lil Silva — all building up to a specially commissioned running installation involving London sports group, Run Dem Crew and GB athlete Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. An ambitious programme we live streamed to a purpose built website, Feel TV.
Impact. The festival saw over 7,500 visitors across ten days and generated over 77 pieces of online media coverage. Feel TV was streamed to a purpose built website that also featured a virtual tour of the space. The stream saw a reach of over 1.7 million on Twitter during the broadcast.
I’ve haven’t seen so much positive interaction from this audience in a long time, they are hard bunch to please! From the people at the event, to the online viewers and the social crowd. It’s definitely up there with some of the top Nike activities to date.
Head of Nike Energy