Behind the Work: New Balance 365

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Continuing its efforts for New Balance, Mother New York launched another multifilm campaign to promote the brand's Spring/Summer 2010 line. Like 574 Clips before it, this latest push features several vignettes. This time around, there are 365 of them, all of which promote the New Balance Lifestyle brand and illustrate the idea of balance—albeit in a sometimes absurd or abstract way. The films will come out daily throughout the year on a dedicated site and on an iPhone app that also serves as an alarm clock. To direct the effort, the agency tapped Teenage Engineering and Little Minx polymath Jesper Kouthoofd, known for, among other things, his digital inventions and his work on Great Works' Absolut Machines project.

Mother copywriter Eugene Fuller and art directors Jed Grossman and Mark Aver provided the story on the making of the year-long campaign.

Can you please give us a little background on this new NB initiative? What sort of brief did the client provide you, and how did you go about addressing it?
Eugene Fuller: This is really the first campaign for the New Balance Lifestyle brand. There wasn't a huge budget on the table but they still wanted to make some serious noise, so it was obvious to us from the beginning that we had to really think different about this one. Most importantly, whatever we came up with had to feel true to the shoe and be something that lives longer than a typical campaign. Since this is a global campaign, the hub of it is on the web and in social media, but is easily adaptable to print, OOH and in-store. Finally, we're also a bit sadistic, so we wanted to produce something out-of-control huge.

Tell us about the different elements of the campaign and their rollout. What's it all about, how long is this going to go for? What are you hoping to relay to the audience with this?
Jed Grossman: The idea of the campaign is to explore balance in a new way, every day for the whole year, hence the campaign name New Balance 365. We do this in a couple ways. First, through the site we deliver a daily dose of balance via film. We've also created an iPhone app, which is the world's first audio/visual alarm clock. Everyday you're awakened by a new film that's an exploration of balance. There are 365 total films.

We notice that there are many films involved, once again. Was this inspired in any way by the previous New Balance project the agency did?
Mark Aver: We didn't know it at the time, but 574 Clips definitely turned out to be a primer for this campaign. Not conceptually, but it let us know how much we can accomplish when we set our minds to it. On another level, this is just a different way of doing stuff. Instead of shooting a campaign, we're shooting a million bits and pieces that fit in lots of different media (print, in-store, film, web, app etc). It's just a bit more interesting in terms of what you can do. Hopefully, people will sense that.

Can you give us a little background on how you have gone about producing this? Jesper Kouthoofd is the director, right? Why did you pick him, and what did he bring to the project?
Fuller: We chose Jesper because he's sort of a mad scientist with a broad creative skill set. He was also one of the few directors that had the balls to attack such a massive project. We all packed up, traveled to Sweden and spent a month in a creative cave making tons of content. Jesper brought a lot to the project: a great sense of aesthetic, an ear for good music and sound design, and just the right amount of insanity to shoot the amount of films we needed.

Overall, what have been the biggest hurdles—technically, creatively, production-wise you've encountered with this launch?
Grossman: The biggest hurdle has been the amount of films we needed to shoot for the budget without sacrificing production value. Not to mention we created an iPhone app that features all the films packaged in a way that's never been done before. There was a huge learning curve.

Any other interesting things we need to know about this campaign/anecdotes from putting this all together?
Aver: There are many layers to this campaign once you look beneath the surface. One of which is a surprise that will be released in the coming months.

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