New Balance’s artful seven-minute film tells seven stories of its reach in subcultures

First work from agency American Haiku gives sneaker maker’s brand history an almost mythic flavor

Published On
May 10, 2024

Editor's Pick

A striking seven-minute film for New Balance, shot in black-and-white 16mm, strolls through the brand’s history with effortless style, telling seven stories of its impact on various subcultures in a series of minimalist vignettes.

The first work from new agency American Haiku, the film—titled “Grey Days”—is a collaboration between creative directors Thom Glover and Daniel Wolfe, director Elliott Power and cinematographer Norm Li. Stray handled the ’60s retro animation, and Samuel Bradley did the still photography.

The film revisits different eras and aspects of NB’s history, from its running heritage to its icon status in 1980s DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia) to the mythology around the 990—the first $100 sneaker.

There are appearances by U.K. rapper Dave, NFL star Chase Young and skateboarding legend Andrew Reynolds, but the film celebrates the subcultures where NB has made its mark rather than any one individual. As artful as the storytelling is, it’s also unfalteringly product centric, with NB’s signature color, Grey, being perhaps the film’s most compelling character of all.

A group of men talking on steps

“This film celebrates not only what Grey means to us as a brand, but also what it means to New Balance consumers. It recognizes sub-cultural New Balance fans who have stood by our brand and the emblem of Grey for generations,” said Chris Davis, chief marketing officer and senior VP of merchandising at New Balance. “It also recognizes the ubiquity of the color Grey, appealing to people everywhere from supermodels in London, to dads in Ohio, to sneaker connoisseurs in Tokyo. Grey is a color for all that represents authenticity, versatility and timelessness, carrying our heritage into the future.”

The full film will run in theaters and online in the U.S. It will also be released as individual scenes. A 60-second trailer will play in cinemas across the U.K., France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Print and out-of-home executions will run across Europe, Asia and in Thrasher magazine in the U.S. 

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