Max Impact For Nike Japan’s 3D Outdoor Ad

Max Impact For Nike Japan’s 3D Outdoor Ad


Out Of Home advertising rarely gets the attention it deserves. In a modern media context it has three very powerful advantages. It’s unskippable. It has broad reach. And it’s large scale in a world of small screens. Meanwhile the shift from static images to digital billboards has expanded the options for OOH campaigns.

The latest OOH campaign from Nike Japan, celebrating the 35th anniversary of its legendary Air Max shoe, uses all these advantages to fullest effect. It has broad reach: it’s located at Shinjuku Station, one of the busiest in the world. It’s large scale – it uses a digital canvas that spans the whole building, allowing for a series of gasp-worthy special effects. And it’s unskippable, so it can loop those moments in a sequence that keeps grabbing the attention of new passers-by.

Most of all, though, Nike have created a campaign that takes full advantage of not just digital billboard technology but 3D digital images, an emerging tech in OOH advertising. The results are spectacular – shoe boxes emerge from the wall and spring open revealing Air Max sneakers in a variety of larger-than-life forms, all with their own backgrounds and visual effects.

It’s a campaign designed for the smartphone era – one that still looks extraordinary on a forwarded video from a friend. We tested the execution using our video Test Your Ad platform, and Nike got a very strong 4.7-Star rating for emotional response, and exceptional scores for both short-term Spike and for Brand Fluency.

The strength of the branding throughout is a particular asset, given that someone encountering the ad in real life might see it at any point during the execution. Given that need to keep brand upfront, it’s remarkable that the ad does so well emotionally too. The primary emotion is Surprise – people are thrilled by the dynamism of the ad, the technology, and the constant turnover of new effects it uses.

With this much surprise, there’s a risk that the ad is only registering on the level of flashy technology. But it’s a risk Nike have avoided – when we look for key associations on the Test Your Ad Pro report we see the top associations are for sneakers, Nike and Air Max, showing that the point of the ad isn’t being lost in the excitement over the visuals.

As time goes on, and the technology for 3D digital display becomes more familiar, brands will need to move beyond surprise by using stories and characters which spark a more joyful emotional response. But by realising the technology’s potential early, Nike have created an outside impact. This spirit of innovation is why there’s an “Air Max Day” to celebrate at all – Nike’s 1987 sneaker was revolutionary, and this show-stopping ad installation is an effective tribute for 2022.