The retail is on the wall

When Nike turned graffiti into sneaker sales outlets

Graffiti is part of the culture in Sao Paulo, even though the city authorities waged war on it by erasing much of the street art around town. This didn’t deter AKQA and Nike, which picked some of the few surviving artworks and lightly tampered with the graffiti characters by adding Nike Air Max sneakers to their feet. People who took a picture of the art in situ could go to the Nike online store and purchase the matching sneakers. But a geo-location feature meant that if they weren’t on site, they couldn’t unlock the kicks. Sneaker heads went crazy, showing up en masse for each new “drop”. And when the city’s governor was chastised for destroying its cultural heritage, the agency and Nike resurrected some of the missing graffiti characters – with new footwear. Outdoor, mobile and e-commerce combined to provide a magic recipe for Cannes: the project won no fewer than six Lions.