Timberland 'TimbsTrails'

Immersive. Multi-Level. Adventure. Brand DNA.
Arts, Fashion, Retail & Culture / Nominee

Arts, Fashion, Retail & Culture

The challenge was reaching ad-adverse newer generations who didn't have an affinity with the brand. Ben Miles, VP, Executive Creative Director and Ciaran Park, Executive Director of Technology


Q: Can you briefly describe your project and the concept behind it?

A: TimbsTrails takes sneakerheads on an immersive adventure through the biggest moments in Timberland’s past, present and future. We created a branded experience designed to promote Gen Z awareness and engagement with the Timberland brand. Part game, part genealogy story, part digital museum, the digital experience is built on spatial architecture drawn from Timberland’s tree logo – effectively creating a three-dimensional language that brings the brand into the DNA of each trail.

Q: Once you settled on your idea, what influenced your decision on the chosen technical approach? How did it differ or go beyond approaches you’ve taken in the past?

A: The TimbsTrails experience was built using Unity WebGL to achieve mobile-first design, and remove the barrier of apps and downloads. Each of the unique areas in the experience was brought to life with historically accurate visuals, music and spatial SFX – pushing what is possible in a browser.

Q: What were some of your biggest learning and takeaways from this project?

A: The project brought to life Timberland’s Brand Operating System. This truly was a unique brand experience, where our audience is literally navigating through the brand. It’s uniquely immersive, non-linear, with the user in complete control of where they navigate. That was fascinating as the design and UX had to be seamless.

Q: What web technologies, approaches, tools, or resources did you use to develop this experience (WordPress, headless, AI, Sublime Text, HTML5, Adobe XD, etc)?

A: We used Amazon Web Services (AWS) as our cloud provider, which made the deployment process incredibly straightforward. We deployed our web package to simple storage buckets for each locale, with a single Cloudfront CDN layer handling delivery and domain provisioning in Route 53. For 3D, we used Unity. The user friendly tool allowed us to get up and running quickly and explore various interaction options early on in the development process.

Q: How did the final product meet or exceed your expectations? What results did you see?

A: TimbsTrails was a first for the brand and exceeded expectations in how it was received from big Timberland cultural fans to new age streamers on Twitch. TimbsTrails reached over 23 million sneakerheads, with 41% more likely to buy from Timberland as a result. A long-term asset that Timberland can continue to grow and evolve, Timberland has been reimagined for a new generation.

Q: Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

A: Users are increasingly in control of how they interact with brands digitally. TimbTrails centers on the idea of creating a non-linear experience that encourages users to navigate and choose their own adventure. To achieve this we ensured we had deep collaboration across all disciplines. From brand designers, creative strategists, interface designers, experienced designers and technologists.

Q: How did you reach a good balance of your own creative ideas and technical capabilities with a fair representation of the client’s brand?

A: We worked at the intersection of our capabilities to ensure we were developing a unique innovative experience that was authentic to the Timberland brand. We remained deeply rooted in innovation and sustainability, while pushing the boundaries to ensure we captured the attention of Gen Z. Creative technologists contributed to the initial creative concept, selecting the appropriate platform and partners, and technical solution from design to delivery.

Q: What did your initial moodboard, wireframe, or prototype look like? How did those ideas change throughout the design process?

A: We explored three different territories, each with a sense of adventure and discovery. One of those was the ‘Maze’ that used the branches of the logo to create the floor plan of the user experience. Instead of inviting a new audience in, we challenged them to find their way out. Built on the brand's DNA, the architecture – wall art, graphics, UI, in-game design – is drawn from forms found in the logo.
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