Nike's new Epic React running shoes are all about softness, lightness and bounce. Working with Wieden & Kennedy Shanghai, the brand created an immersive in-store experience for shoppers to test them: You tie on the sneakers and jog on a treadmill while your video-game avatar races through a fluffy, springy fantasy world.
The game, called Reactland, is somewhat reminiscent of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros., though, as Wieden says, it has "clouds, springs, pillows and other fun elements to metaphorically demonstrate the benefit of Nike React technology." There's a Great Wall of China in the clouds, and a Chinese metropolis with floating buildings. When you jog across the rooftops of Paris, you're accompanied by a sneaker-clad giant leaping frog. Other famous landmarks like Mt. Fuji, the Pyramids of Giza and the Statue of Liberty make appearances too, along with giant cartoon pandas. It's a bit more fanciful than, say, the Nike+ Running Trial Zone at the New York Soho store, where the treadmill faces a screen showing you Central Park or the West Side Highway.
The 3-minute experience is running at Nike stores in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. Everyone who tries it gets a 10-second clip of their experience that's designed for social sharing.