Running shoe brand Saucony was launching its newest shoe, the Endorphin Pro 3, so it turned to Design Army, an award-winning graphic design firm based in Washington DC, to help its team promote it. But there was a small problem, explains the creative director and co-founder of the agency, Pum Lefebure.
“The overarching goal was to create buzz and hype,” she explains. “But the campaign would take place during the Paris Fashion Week menswear collections, so we knew there would be a lot of clutter that we needed to break through and disrupt. The campaign needed to be bold and provocative.”
To fulfill the brief, Design Army designed a 360-degree experience that spans digital, retail, and experience. For the latter, they created a pop-up experience called House of Speed.
A multi-level gallery was transformed into an endorphin-themed townhouse, complete with a treadmill room for in-person demonstrations, a bar with refreshments, and upstairs accommodations that doubled as breakout spaces. socialization.
“On the first level, the treadmill room had a real wow effect when you walked in,” says Pum. “You walked into an alcove covered in phrases like ‘Speed Is Art’, and there were two treadmills with screens in front of them, inviting you to run, go fast, and have an emotional experience.”
The team is particularly proud of the “living quarters” upstairs, designed to provide opportunities for interactive content. “A four-poster bed with a mirror on top and a sticker that said ‘Go Faster’ was a total selfie moment, which we saw gain traction on social media,” says Pum.
“A hot pink tub with ‘feet’ wearing the Endorphin Pro 3 was another photo opportunity we saw go viral. Guests jumped in solo or in groups, snapping photos with their hot pink coffee mugs while reading the ‘Runner Times’ newspaper.”
This specially created newspaper was distributed at the Maison de la Vitesse and in the streets of Paris. “It started as a prop for the campaign movie,” Pum recalls. “The paper blows across the face of one of the runners, slowing him down for a moment. This was the perfect opportunity to bring him to life.”
When designing the space, Design Army was inspired by Prospect Pink, the colorway of the shoe, and a modern gallery approach to displaying the shoes. “We relied on pink as the color representing self-expression rooted in disruption,” Pum explains. “It covers the entire house, activation and artistic displays of the shoe using LED lights and light effects.”
The House of Speed invited its guests to discover the pleasure of going fast with the new shoes. But the central idea was that speed and fast shoes aren’t just for a certain caliber of runner. Instead, says Pum, “No matter how advanced you are in your running journey, know that speed is subjective: just have fun with it.”
Design Army was responsible for the design, look and feel of the space and worked with the brand’s production agency, which physically brought it to life. It hasn’t been without its challenges, adds Pum.
“Working with multiple partners can always be challenging, especially when you’re working in a different country than where the activation is hosted,” she explains. “That meant we couldn’t physically get into the space if we needed to, or we only see the final games right before the event, and you juggle a whole host of different deadlines.
“The hardest part was being limited by what we could do in real space due to what was allowed and the time to load and unload,” she adds. “How could we create this bold pink exterior and interior when we weren’t allowed to physically change, paint, or hang anything on the walls?”
Fortunately, however, the production agency had solutions for all of this. “And in the end, the result was executed exactly as planned thanks to the incredible team spirit. Overall, the House of Speed created a synergy between Saucony and the fun feeling of going fast , reinforcing its legacy as a premium, trusted, mainstream brand.”
House of Speed was only one element of the campaign, however. Another was a fast-paced, creative film that follows a runner traversing his own reflection from the Brooklyn Bridge to downtown New York. It’s fun, frenetic, colorful and precise.
In this fast-paced spot, directed by Anthony Blasko, titled Lace ‘Em or Chase ‘Em, a runner runs his own reflection from the Brooklyn Bridge in downtown New York.
The reflection, wearing the Endorphin Pro 3, wins the race. But when the runner wakes up the next day, it’s his turn to lace them up: leaving his reflection in the dust. The message is beautifully succinct: you can wear the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 – or hunt whoever does.