Onitsuka: Product Makes Model, Makes Ads, Makes Art, Makes Product

More evidence of the “new” advertising: the centrepiece of Onitsuka Tiger’s marketing over the coming year will be a meter-long model of a trainer-shaped mini-city created using Rapid Prototyping technology. The model appears in a commercial and in print ads, but copies will also tour in an exhibition and be made into promotional merchandise. Plus – and here’s where it gets really Ad2.0 – Onitsuka is going to bring out a range of trainers based on the model later this year…

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More evidence of the “new” advertising: the centrepiece of Onitsuka Tiger’s marketing over the coming year will be a meter-long model of a trainer-shaped mini-city created using Rapid Prototyping technology. The model appears in a commercial and in print ads, but copies will also tour in an exhibition and be made into promotional merchandise. Plus – and here’s where it gets really Ad2.0 – Onitsuka is going to bring out a range of trainers based on the model later this year…

“It was essential that the idea that would allow us to explore traditional and non-traditional media opportunities,” explains Richard Gorodecky, executive creative director of agency StrawberryFrog Amsterdam, who conceived the idea. “Alongside the one-metre shoe sculpture there’s a tour, a print campaign, a 30-second animated film, a font, retail installations, limited-edition key rings and there’s even a light-up shoe-shaped USB stick.”

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The model, which was made by Freedom of Creation, features “highways filled with cars, high-rise buildings, market signs, trains, and the tongue is a replica of Tokyo Narita Airport,” says Gorodecky. “There’s even a vending machine selling miniature Onitsuka Tiger shoes in the heel. The whole thing is lit up by 300 LEDs and neon rope, and there’s a hidden speaker and iPod dock that plays city sounds.”

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Breaking out the mould to reveal the model inside

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Spray-painting the model

[QUICKTIME /images/uploads/2008/02/makingofblog.mov /images/uploads/2008/02/makingofblogpostermovie.mov 320 255 true true]
This Making Of movie shows how it was done

“Fundamentally it’s a tribute to Onitsuka Tiger’s unique and authentic heritage,” he claims. “The shoe sculpture pays homage to Tokyo’s cityscape, its vibrant city lights, the architecture and, of course, its energy. The shoe is, quite literally, Made of Japan.”

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The shoe model will feature in print ads (one above) as well as a 30-second commercial (shown below). But that’s just the start. An additional seven 70cm-long sculptures, encased in their own bespoke glass cabinets, will tour the main European markets, Asia, Australia and the USA, while 15 40cm-long versions will be displayed in stores worldwide.

And later this year Onitsuka will produce a shoe inspired by the model. “It’s incredible really; advertising inspired by product becomes a product inspired by advertising,” says Gorodecky. “A special rendering has been created for a limited edition shoe. They’ll incorporate reflective and light-emitting materials in their design. There are also t-shirts using light reflective inks. They’ll be in store in the summer.”

Creative team: Andrew Watson, Richard Gorodecky. Model designer: Freedom of Creation. Photographer: Satoshi Minakawa.

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