Now fans can actually "be like Mike."
Nike's Jordan brand launched an interactive Michael Jordan-themed installation -- complete with an LED half-court, slam-dunk camera and shoe trials -- in New York City Thursday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its first sneaker. The digital installation, located at the Pearl Pavilion near Penn Station, will run throughout NBA All-Star Weekend and kicks off the brand's year-long celebration.
All-Star Weekend has been integral to the Jordan brand since its inception, serving as a place to launch new products and build interactive experiences for fans. In New Orleans last year, fans could train with holograms of Nike athletes like Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul.
Jordan wanted to go bigger for its 30th anniversary.
"[All-Star Weekend] is one of the crown jewels on the calendar that we as a brand always look to," said Brian Facchini, global communications director at Jordan. "This experience is another step up. It really allows you to get more into the game."
The push -- created by AKQA -- puts fans in Mr. Jordan's shoes and educates consumers, some of whom may have been too young to see Mr. Jordan play, on the history of the athlete and the brand.
"A lot of our target audience at the moment probably weren't around for a lot of the iconic moments in his career, so this is a look back and a look forward at the same time," said Eamonn Dixon, associate-CD at AKQA. "We want to inspire that generation by showing the man behind the brand."
The concept that runs throughout the experience is "We Are Jordan," which is also the hashtag for the campaign's social push. "We're giving everybody the opportunity to let the inner Michael Jordan come out," said Mr. Facchini. "If you have ever pursued greatness in whatever you do, you share a common link with Michael."
The installation's main event is "The Last Shot," an LED simulator with 876 screens that allows fans to virtually recreate two of Michael Jordan's most iconic shots with step-by-step instructions, or freestyle, with an announcer, crowd reactions and court graphics. A personalized, inspirational quote from MJ follows each shot. (A miss prompted: "failure makes me work even harder," among other quotes.) Stardust was the production company for the push.
Each visitor recieves an RFID bracelet that allows them to digitally access the content they create -- including photobooth images with the tagline "I'm not Michael I am Jordan," a "Matrix"-style bullet video of their shot on the slam dunk court, and a video of their shot on the LED court.
Sneakerheads can also try out the latest Jordan shoes, including the Air Jordan XX9; Superfly, inspired by Blake Griffin; CP3.VII worn by Chris Paul; and the Melo M11, worn by Carmelo Anthony.
The exhibit also features every Air Jordan sneaker and a "Hall of Greatness," which highlights some of MJ's greatest moments, including the brand's partnership with Warner Bros., which was recently rekindled, and other memorabilia like worn and signed sneakers from the Michael Jordan Building in Beaverton, Ore.
Over the years, Jordan has grown into one of the world's great sports brands and its performance helped fuel the 11% increase in Nike's revenue during its most recently completed fiscal year.
Pre-registration was taken down before the free installation opened to the public because registrations "well-exceeded expectations," said Allison Gabrys, client partner lead at AKQA. Walk-ins are still welcome.
Jordan started the push by distributing wristbands at NikeTown and other retail locations, launching a mobile site, and using social and digital to spread the word.
"We didn't have to do much awareness around this because the followers are so loyal," said Ms. Gasbrys, who added that the push encourages consumers to share photos from the exhibit throughout social channels.
Mr. Facchini did not know what the budget for the push was.
Jordan is also promoting the brand during NBA All-Star Weekend with a pop-up shop in Brooklyn.
Mr. Jordan is aware of the installation, but has not yet visited it. Mr. Facchini said he hopes Mr. Jordan will stop by this weekend, but doesn't know whether fans will catch a glimpse of the legend.