- Adidas is experimenting with the Instagram-friendly, ephemeral pop-up model in an effort to sell sneakers while also gaining social media traction.
- The retailer launched a one-night-only “performance enhancement playground” for visitors to test the Adidas Ultraboost shoe while participating in activities like navigating a maze, riding a seesaw, and competing in a vertical jump test.
- The venue is optimised for Instagramming potential, painted in bright colours and with delineated photo spots and hashtags emblazoned on the ground.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Though violent outbursts prevented Adidas from dropping its much-anticipated Arizona Iced Tea collaborative sneaker on Thursday, elsewhere in New York City the retailer was in the throes of building a very different type of shopping experience: an interactive adult playground.
With a few hours to go before the Adidas Boost Experience was slated to open its doors to the public, we stopped in to try our hand at challenges that included navigating a maze filled with hundreds of bright yellow balls, riding a seesaw for the first time in two decades, and leaping as high as we could in a vertical jumping test.
Each activity at the one-day-only Boost Experience serves as a component of a three-part installation “designed to boost your brain, creativity, and future,” according to Adidas. It’s also undoubtedly developed to be an Instagram hot spot, rife with opportunities for bloggers and iPhone-wielding shoppers to post photos filled with Adidas logos to their feeds.
Much like Macy’s used the ephemeral pop-up concept when it launched Story, Adidas is now taking a cue from Instagram-friendly experiences like the Museum of Ice Cream and Rosé Mansion to sell shoes. For brands like Adidas, the power lays more so in the social content that derived from these fleeting events, and less from the actual sales generated from them.
“The idea is we can show up and provide this experience in a really important market, but also let it live and extend out to places like the Midwest and to all those people who aren’t able to get to New York,” Wes Petticrew, trade marketing manager at Adidas, told Business Insider.
This is what it was like inside the Adidas Boost Experience:
The Adidas Boost Experience is situated on an unassuming block in Chelsea. The pop-up appeared to be the type of place you have to know about in advance, which added to the allure.
Once inside, we were immediately overwhelmed with the bright bursts of sunshine yellow emanating from every corner.
“[The Boost Experience] helps bridge the gap between the hardcore performance running world of the shoe and what it was designed to do, and the practical applications of using it in everyday life and and wearing it around,” Petticrew said.
As we wandered in, an Adidas associate — wearing, you guessed it, yellow — led us down a hallway lined with yellow arrows.
Eventually we reached a more secluded back room, filled with comfy cushions and vibrant art.
The friendly associate led us to an area designated as “pick-up,” where shoppers can come grab a pair of Ultraboost sneakers to prepare them for the pending activities.
As we laced up our sneaks, we admired the funky art and read inspirational facts posted on the wall, like: “Thinking about what you’re grateful for releases positive chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and oxytocin.”
“Being outside, even in the cold weather, actually improves memory and attention span,” read another.
Once we were laced up and ready to go, we looked at a preview of the events to come.
First up is the maze, or the “Boost Your Brain” part of the experience. The exercise is designed for visitors to get a sense of what it’s like to do a physical cognitive thinking exercise in the shoes.
Next up is the seesaw, or the “Boost Your Creativity” part of the agenda. The seesaw is intended to evoke the playful energy of childhood while testing out the spring capacity of the Ultraboost.
Lastly, there’s a vertical jump test, referred to as “Boost Your Future.” The running jump motivates shoppers by letting them leap for a prize, showcasing the flexibility and bounce of the shoe.
Before preparing to enter the maze, we browsed some of the latest Ultraboost styles and colours.
Ultraboost comes in styles for both men …
… and women.
Time to enter the maze! In advance of walking into the labyrinth, an Adidas employee gave us approximately five seconds to view a sheet of paper that detailed the way out.
Now we just had to remember it …
The journey of a thousand miles — or um, the exit from a maze filled with hundreds of yellow balls — begins with a single step.
There were so many balls.
Sarah Hall – a creative strategist at Harley and Company, the firm that helped design Boost Experience – said the intention is to be more than just another Museum of Ice Cream.
“From a designer’s perspective, we create so many spaces that are purely pretty because we want people to take a picture and that’s the exchange,” she said. “We want people to come and really learn something and push themselves a little bit. That’s our hope when we do things like this, that we go beyond just a sprinkle pool.”
We were instructed that if you see a block of pathway with lines like this, you must turn around. We got a bit lost.
Eventually we made it through, and we didn’t even make one bad joke that mentioned “Yellow” by Coldplay along the way.
Riding the high of our maze navigating skills, we moved on to the seesaw. We were hesitant, but once we climbed on it admittedly took us back to childhood.
Scattered around the store we found symbols like this, encouraging social media sharing and promoting the hashtag #FeelTheBoost.
Slightly disoriented from riding a seesaw for the first time in two decades, we moved on to our last activity, the vertical jump.
There are five different zones, depending on height. After you’re assessed with a measuring stick, you take your place in front of your zone.
With a running jump, we reached as high as could to pull a ticket that features additional prizes you can win.
“It’s really important that people actually get to accomplish something with the shoe launch. It’s not just a matter of seeing it and going to a store and walking back and forth,” Hall said.
After the vertical jump, you return to the back room to either drop off the shoes or decide to make a purchase.
And that’s a wrap! It was ultimately not exactly what our childhood playground experience was like, but a fun time just the same.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.