David Blecken
Dec 21, 2017

Adidas event turns Japanese sneaker fans into thieves

The Tokyo launch party for the Prophere took an unexpected turn.

In a country with one of the lowest theft rates in the world, adidas wanted to show people that stealing can be fun. In an initiative dreamed up by Dentsu to promote the new Prophere sneaker as something worth risking everything for, adidas held a mystery party for selected guests in Tokyo. According to a video of the event, the format starts off straightforwardly enough, with a club setting and strategically-placed sneakers for people to examine and take pictures of.

Things take an odd turn when people venture into a room to try the shoes on. A message flashes up urging them to steal them instead. Partygoers then have to make their way undetected past multiple CCTV cameras and security guards, keeping the shoes if they are successful.

Campaign’s view: Gamified experiences have been a popular promotional tool in Japan for a while now, but encouraging people to have a crack at breaking the law (sort of) is fairly novel. It didn’t seem too easy either: there are only so many places you can hide a pair of chunky sneakers. Some would say other, costlier adidas models would do more to justify such an exercise, but all in all this seemed a good bit of entertainment for the people who took part and definitely more interesting than a regular show-and-tell-type product introduction.

Campaign Japan

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