We used play to explain Nike innovation to young people

The brief. Nike’s Young Athletes brand category and JD Sports approached Anyways to communicate the benefits behind key Nike innovations to young people aged 8–12 years old.

To help both brands authentically talk to the young audience we devised and built the ‘Discovery Lab’. A one day event that turned a group of Nike’s ‘Young Athletes’ into scientists, where they tested and learnt about Nike’s ‘Air’ and ‘React’ innovations through a series of experiments, then put their learnings into practise by designing the sneakers of tomorrow.

Welcome to the Discovery Lab. Using these learnings to guide us we created the ‘Discovery Lab’, a one day event created specifically for young people to use science and play to ask imaginative questions and learn about Nike innovations.

The day was split into two sections. The first housed four hands-on experiments where the 8 - 12 year olds could put these innovations to the test, and the second was a workshop where they put their learnings into practice, designing their perfect sneaker.

Learning through play. From our research and testing we discovered that hands-on activities gained a higher level of interaction and engagement,as young people today are surrounded by screens 24/7. So each of our four experiments focused on hands-on learning.

Making the future. At the workshop we asked the Young Athletes what they wished their shoes could help them do - run really fast, jump over their house, be super bouncy - and then provided a series of materials to help them create their vision.

Each material represented the core benefit of a different Nike innovation, from ‘bouncy’ and ‘long lasting’, to ‘comfy’ and ‘lightweight’. The best designs were then displayed in Nike Town London.

Making a difference. Throughout the day 85 young people passed through the Discovery Lab, with the social content created around the event reaching thousands more. The takeover on JD Sports’ Instagram Story almost doubled the average reach of each post, and entries to a social-based Nike led competition gathered a total of 22K entries.

But the main result was the effect the day had on the young people who took part. A parent of one attendee said; “Events like this really make a difference to children who do not have exposure/interaction of this sort.”