Nike Grid: forget ads, let’s make a game!

Nike has turned the city of London into a game board for a two-week competition called the GRID which the shoe manufacturer hopes will ultimately encourage young people who already jog for exercise to start identifying themselves as “runners.”

Nike has turned the city of London into a game board for a two-week competition called the GRID which the shoe manufacturer hopes will ultimately encourage young people who already jog for exercise to start identifying themselves as “runners.”

Fasct company grid
Nice piece in Fast Company by E.B. Boyd about our work on Nike Grid.

Nike asked Wieden+Kennedy to get young people excited about running. W+K said forget ads, let's make a game.

Nike has turned the city of London into a game board for a two-week competition called the GRID which the shoe manufacturer hopes will ultimately encourage young people who already jog for exercise to start identifying themselves as “runners.”

The company has broken the city down into its 48 zip codes. Each zip code (or “postal code” as they say in England) has four traditional phone boxes. Players compete by doing runs, which they start by going to one of the phone boxes, dialing a specific number, entering their unique identifier, and then following the instructions they're given, which send them to other phone boxes in the city.

The first GRID competition was held back in April, around the time of the London Marathon. In an essay that ran in a British advertising magazine, Graeme Douglas of Wieden+Kennedy, which developed the game, wrote that when Nike approached them with the task of getting young people engaged in running, they didn’t have a specific idea about how to do that. “It was evident from the start that a message-based campaign wasn’t going to be enough,” Douglas wrote. “We needed to get people out and active; and introduce to them a new way to run.”

Douglas goes on to say, ”We decided the best strategic option to deliver this would be to augment the running experience; creating a layer of experience on top of the run that aimed to alter how the activity would be interacted with.” Hence the game. The current competition started last Friday and runs (no pun intended) for 15 days. Players, who can compete individually or in teams, get points, badges, and prizes for speed, routes, and “various unlockables,” Douglas writes, “that become apparent as the game unfolds.” As of this writing, the game had 2,834 players and 323 teams.

Screen shot 2010-10-29 at 16.48.57

What’s particularly cool about the competition is  the GRID website where Nike not only tallies scores but is also serving up visualizations of the race. Since it’s collecting data all the time—every time a competitor makes a call from one of the phone boxes, it logs who they are, where the box is, and what time it is—Nike is turning that information into visualizations (powered by San Francisco’s Stamen Design) that illustrate various aspects of the race. In one of those visualizations (embedded below), the GRID pits men against women, plotting the competitors’ individual runs over time on a stylized map of London (in pink for women and blue for men), while tallying up their points on a scoreboard on the side. And, in the good-natured competitive spirit of the game, the video declares at the end: “Boys lead!” and urges their counterparts: “Get running girls!”

“GRID is part of a growing category of ideas that sits within, as Tom Coates of Yahoo! describes, the ‘real world web,’” Douglas writes, “connected things that blur the physical and virtual spaces—things that thrive primarily because they excite us as humans, rather than being a vehicle for demonstrating technical capability.”

planning the swoosh

Wanted: Mid-weight Planner to join the team at W+K London.

Accounts to include Nike UK, Nike Football Global, plus one other of our splendid clients, yet TBC.

The Best Job in The World?

It’s not on an Australian island, granted.

But if you’re into creative communication, strategy and sport, there probably aren’t many better jobs than Planner on Nike at W+K London (we’re massively biased of course).

We’re looking for an amazing strategic thinker to, amongst lots of other things, come help conceive and bring to life the next generation of ideas in the footsteps of Write the Future and GRID.

We’re not absolutely sure what type of person we’ll hire for this job. But we do know a few things:

They’ll probably be around three to four years in. They’ll have worked in strategy before, but might not have spent all of their career thus far as a ‘planner’. They’ll be able to hold their own in a meeting and be ready to run with a piece of business. They’ll have an interesting point-of-view on life, not just advertising. They’ll get sport. They’ll be massively passionate about what they do. They won’t obsess about talking about stuff, because they’d rather be doing stuff. They’ll be a nice person to have around. They’ll be awesome.

Most importantly, they’ll be ready to do the best work of their life.

Sound like you?

If so, we invite you to answer the following questions. Feel free to do so in any way you see fit. Once you’ve answered them, please email to graeme.douglas@wk.com by 5pm on Monday 1st November 2010 (although any earlier would be wonderful). We’ll take it from there.

  • What's the biggest myth in our industry?
  • Define an insight.
  • Define an idea.
  • What is Planning?
  • How will W+K be making money in ten years?
  • Tell us something interesting.
  • Which piece of work do you wish you'd made, and why?
  • What's your favourite piece of Nike work from anywhere in the world, and why?
  • What's the biggest issue facing football?
  • What does Just Do It mean to a kid today?

We know that’s a bit of work. But we hope that it’s worth it. Of course, if you do have a bash at this, we promise that we’ll give you feedback, whatever happens.

Finally, no head-hunters, please. It’s nothing personal.

Nokia N8 ad innovators: the dragonfly love project

Dragonfly Love was shot entirely on a Nokia N8 smartphone by director Thomas Hilland. Editing and some special effects were done separately but everything else was done on the N8 and the remote controlled dragonflies are real, as are the large, hairy Norwegian gentlemen in bizarre costumes.

Dragonfly Love was shot entirely on a Nokia N8 smartphone by director Thomas Hilland. Editing and some special effects were done separately but everything else was done on the N8 and the remote controlled dragonflies are real, as are the large, hairy Norwegian gentlemen in bizarre costumes.

Screen shot 2010-10-24 at 17.20.30
Wieden + Kennedy's new campaign for the Nokia N8 celebrates the hackers, modders and innovators who take Nokia technology and do cool and surprising things with it. Previously on this blog we've shared the N8 TV spot, which features a number of such projects.  We’ve also shown in more detail some of the projects featured in that TV spot, such as Ji-Dong Yim's dancing Nokia robot phones, Professor Daniel Fletcher's Cellscope and the record breaking 'Dot' stop-frame animation film made using the same technology, electronic graffiti and an innovative skateboarding game. Here’s another such project: Dragonfly Love. Regular W2O readers may have seen the post about the shoot in Norway. Here’s the finished film.

Dragonfly Love – The Film from The Dragonfly Love Project on Vimeo.

This was shot entirely on a Nokia N8 smartphone by director Thomas Hilland.  Editing and some special effects were done separately but everything else was done on the N8 (which comes with 12 megapixel camera, Carl Zeiss optics, Xenon flash, HD-quality video recording, Dolby surround sound) and the remote controlled dragonflies are real, as are the large, hairy Norwegian gentlemen in bizarre costumes. Music is by Kap Bambino.

Here’s a short making-of film that shows how it was all done.

Making of Dragonfly Love from The Dragonfly Love Project on Vimeo.

Visualising the GRID

As regular readers will know, we're currently in the very early days of our real world web running game for Nike: the GRID (version II).

As part of this, we're working with the brilliant Stamen to bring a daily update of the game to life through data visualisation (as you can imagine with fifteen days' play and thousands of runs being logged across forty-eight postcodes, there's going to be a rather rich dataset available).

Perfect for planning strategies, motivating teams or simply your viewing pleasure, day one data is available now:


 

And it's still not too late to sign-up. Get running!

Norway Nokia Shoot

A month or so ago, Emma, Toby, Scott and Nev ventured to the Lofoten Islands in Norway to help shoot a film on the Nokia N8.

The film features high-powered remote-controlled helicopters (capable of vaporising a pigeon on impact), a stunning Norwegian landscape and come colourful men in costume.

Aside from the occasional mid-air collision it was a really fun shoot, involving light aircraft, powerboats, salted cod's tongue, whale meat, rustic fishing hut accomodation and really, really fresh air.  Plus no-one was decapitated.

The film, 'Dragonfly Love' is coming soon – Watch This Space.

1.THE LOFOTEN ISLANDS

2.THE RAVEN'S FISHING HUT
3. TOBY AT THE TOP OF THE WORLD

4. SHOOTING THE RED BEARDY
6. BEACH SHOOT
5.TEAM DRAGONFLY