Nike Air Max '17 — The Art of Negative Space

By ManvsMachine, London, UK

For Nike Europe

Winner in category Design & Branding

In subcategory Broadcast Design / Animation

Project Description
The Air Max 2017’s ultralight support and maximum comfort are portrayed through a series of visual metaphors inspired by scenarios encountered on an everyday run. Our brief was to conceive and produce the campaign creative for the Nike Air Max ’17 with the core callouts being comfort and breathability.
The Air Max ‘17 marks thirty years of Nike’s iconic sneaker line. For the European launch, partnerships with JD Sports and Footlocker pushed the retail presence of the campaign beyond the flagship Niketowns. The arresting textures of the materials used to indicate the lightness and breathability of the Air Max draw the eye of viewers out-of-home, in-store, online and post-purchase with incredible new packaging. As with most Nike campaigns, our stated target audience is “humans,” so the pop textures and playful edit had to simply telegraph comfort and breathability to every possible viewer.
Agency Solution
A motion study of air and the negative space it occupies.
We sorted our metaphors into various categories: the product itself, the urban running environment and pop culture. Each material had to convey either soft and cushioned or lightweight and breathable; better yet, both. The product itself gave us a wealth of forms and materials from which to take inspiration, as did the running terrain. Finally, as the Air Max 2017 is worn as a fashion shoe by many, it needed to embrace style as well as substance, so we injected some whimsical pop-led elements.
Sound design is crucial to the film as it’s very much the driving force behind the flow. It represents an abstracted daily run and is composed of the rhythm of foot strikes, percussive traffic noises, sonic references to airflow and the runner’s breath.
Overall, the film is a lighthearted smack in the face - precisely what we were after.
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