- On Aug. 24, Foot Locker and Asics will launch "Welcome to the Dojo," an exclusive apparel and footwear collection inspired by Asics’ Japanese heritage, per a news release. The collection celebrates the story of two dojos, or training spaces for martial arts — the rising sun dojo and the snake dojo — and will be available exclusively at Foot Locker.
- The support for the launch includes an anime-inspired digital series, titled “The Sun and The Snake,” that was created by BBDO with illustrations and animation by Shotopop, with voiceovers from Luka Sabbat, Princess Nokia and YFN Lucci. The show features a samurai who removes his Asics shoes before entering the dojo and then discovers that someone has stolen them. The series follows the samurai on his quest to find his sneakers.
- A trailer of the series was released on Foot Locker’s YouTube page. “The Sun and The Snake” will consist of five short animated episodes available on Foot Locker’s YouTube and Instagram channels, with the first episode debuting on August 21. The content will be shoppable, with viewers able to purchase items directly within each platform.
The Foot Locker and Asics partnership is part of a growing trend of marketers creating original programming to support the launch of new products and offer consumers unique branded content and experiences. Asics is embracing its Japanese roots with its new anime series, which is also a nod to the growing popularity of anime in the U.S. Original digital programming, such as the new series, has a growing audience that tends to be younger, more diverse and more tech-savvy, which is likely Asics’ target audience. Keeping the episodes short addresses how young, mobile-minded consumers are engaging with content on their phones.
Interactive elements, like shoppable experiences, can make video content more memorable and can increase viewing time, which will help Foot Locker and Asics drive sales of the new limited-edition footwear collection. The line could be popular with sneaker fans, who often jump on new releases. Foot Locker regularly teams up with footwear and apparel brands, including Nike, on exclusive product launches that include digital, interactive and experiential marketing strategies.
The new campaign is part of Asics’ broader brand refresh that the company announced last fall, when it unveiled a new wellness focus with a campaign featuring DJ Steve Aoki and a new integrated multichannel campaign that included digital video, social media and in-store activations. Asics also released a series of family-centric workout videos in May in a partnership with Disney for the release of Disney Pixar’s “Incredibles 2,” as well as a limited-edition footwear line.