WEBBY x INSTAGRAM ALL-STARS is a new interview series produced in partnership with Instagram for Business, featuring this year’s best Webby-recognized projects for Instagram. Stay tuned for more Q&As.
In an age of influencers and “fit pics” it is no secret that Instagram has revolutionized the fashion industry. Products that look good on the platform not only drive sales, but also center brands in larger cultural moments.
That’s why creative agency Annex88 and adidas teamed up to create both a shoe and digital campaign designed for Instagram with “DEERUPT.” The upcoming adidas shoe silhouette—designed with how it would appear on Instagram posts in mind—was in need of a viral campaign.
Enter “DEERUPT” by Annex88. Knowing that “unboxing” videos and posts drive Sneakerhead culture, the Annex88 team democratized the process for all, by letting Sneakerheads across 123 countries interact with, and share, an AR-rendering of the DEERUPT shoe. The one-of-a-kind experience was shared across social—and was named a 2019 Webby Nominee in Digital Campaigns.
We spoke with Harry Bee, CCO at Annex88 on how his team created the AR experience, how Instagram has changed fashion, and more.
Your team created the DEERUPT campaign as a way to excite the adidas community via unboxing culture. As Instagram has become the dominant platform for Sneakerheads to discover and purchase new products, how did you approach this project to ensure you crafted an experience that consumers would share across the platform?
We always like to approach projects and problems from the angle of being able to share with a community. People want to show their friends and followers the cool and interesting things that they see and do, so we wanted to make it interactive and unique for them to be able to do that.
The first AR ‘unboxing’ video was created by the adidas family and posted on Instagram. How and why did Instagram fit into your overall strategy for this campaign?
Being a fundamentally visual platform, Instagram was our first thought for this. It’s true that other platforms are also used for conversation about shoe drops, but we really wanted the visual experience to be key. More and more conversation in the streetwear and fashion communities is happening in the comments and hashtags of Instagram, so we wanted to feed that environment with a special piece of content.
How has Instagram transformed the fashion industry, and Sneakerhead culture in general? Why was it important to make DEERUPT an exciting experience the adidas community would share in that space?
Instagram has democratized personal expression and style and become the first platform where Sneakerheads share their latest cops. This has shifted the culture to become more about boasting, flexing, and doing it for the ‘gram. Like any drop, we knew DEERUPT’s release would happen on Instagram, but we had to engage our audience more deeply than another typical unboxing reaction video.
You strategically sent empty boxes to influencers, or high-profile Sneakerheads for unboxing. Why was it essential to your overall campaign strategy to engage influencers to reach adidas consumers?
In its core DNA, adidas Originals is a brand for and by creators. Influencers were not selected for mere reach, but because they are the people who create this culture every day. We always partner with the most innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers (pun intended), and this activation was no different.
What were some things you had to keep in mind when creating the AR renderings of the DEERUPT?
One of the most unexpected technical hurdles was the file size of the interactive shoe. We ended up scrapping traditional assets (ai or EPS files) and creating it completely with code. We were also very aware that this would be the first time anyone would see the shoe, so we had to work closely with adidas to ensure that everyone felt it was an accurate representation of the real life product.
What does your Webby-nomination mean to you?
It means being recognized for hard work, and unique work, amongst the best in the industry. It’s really an honor to our team as our goal is to always break the mold, to do things that are unique and innovative. The Webbys always recognizes the best of the best, we are just happy to be included amongst that group.