Shoes Fly at Nike Air Show in Argentina

Online Puffs of Breath Power Footwear Race on Real Track

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BUENOS AIRES (AdAge.com) -- Nike Argentina is playing with the concept of air itself to promote the launch of the latest Nike Air Max with an online game that lets consumers make the shoe float and fly through the air.

In the Nike Air Show, shoes appear to levitate almost two inches off the ground. Players blow on the microphone in their computer, either at home or at the Nike store at the Unicentro shopping mall in Buenos Aires, to make the floating shoes race along a real track at the store.

"The concept we were working with was air: how to convert the air in Nike Air Max into an entertaining experience for the consumer, both on the web and at the point of sale," said Diego Luque, brand communication manager for Nike's Southern Cone region, who approved the idea without knowing whether it would actually work.

The project was brought to life by creative director Nicolas Pimentel, former director of integrated communications at BBDO Argentina, who left in May to open what he described as an "innovation house" in Buenos Aires called +Castro. BBDO Argentina worked with him on Nike Air Show.

"Our focus is not communications, or brands, or marketing, but rather experimenting," Mr. Pimentel said. "We think more in terms of 'how' than in 'what.'... Most agencies reach innovation by chance, we try to reach it by process."

During the first eight days, there were about 10,000 visits to the site, which is proving deeply engaging to some players. "There are people like 'Flopi,' a user that has already played more than 500 games in just four days," Mr. Pimentel said. "People are not surprised easily these days. Yet, when ideas strike them, they engage in the conversation."

The game continues until the end of September. Nike products will go to a weekly winner and a final winner, determined by the distance their shoes travel on the track.

"This work consists of two innovations that will surprise the consumer: new software that converts a physical stimulus into a digital one, and that transmits it to a mechanical device at the point of sale," Mr. Pimentel said.

Mr. Pimentel has a knack for attention-grabbing projects. While at BBDO, he worked on the "Pepsi Becomes 'Pecsi'">Pecsi" campaign that playfully rebranded Pepsi, according to the way the brand's name is pronounced by Argentines, as well as integrated campaigns "Bring Back Slow Dancing" for Doritos and Nike's "Barrio Bonito."

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