To create a fun, authentic experience that facilitates product trial and drives footwear sales – this was the fundamental objective. But how do you go about creating a unique and memorable flagship experience worthy of New York City, that not only delivers on authenticity and credibility, but also resonates with PUMA’s ‘Generation Hustle’ target audience? Through behavioural research and keen customer insight, we defined a creative platform that would help raise the game!
Idols brought to earth
Hyper-connected and existing against a backdrop of fake news, we established that the ‘Gen Hustle’ customer (a section within the Gen-Z cohort) had inherently developed an ingrained necessity for sincerity and authenticity from the things the product and brands they choose to interact with.
Deep diving into PUMA’s important Teamsport and Training categories to understand their emotional impulses, physical aspirations and experience expectations. We found across both customer personas, that although heavily influenced by their sporting heroes, away from idolisation, elite athletes provided fuel and inspiration for this audience to carve their own path and define their own sport style.
Using this to guide our human-design principles, our creative platform ‘idols brought to earth’, leveraged global PUMA brand ambassadors Lewis Hamilton, Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku, and placed them at the heart of the experience – positioning them as virtual training buddies, as opposed inaccessible celebrities. The Skill Cube was born.
Firm in the believe that tech’s primary function is to facilitate great human experiences, we chose to remove all unnecessary barriers that might stand in the way – VR and AR were strictly off limits. To make this experience wholly immersive, in the true sense of the word, we devised an ‘invisible tech’ approach, seamlessly marrying the best available, alternative technology to deliver a captivating, interactive space filled with dynamic lighting, content and surround sound.
The Skill Cube
Once inside the Skill Cube, visitors are immersed in a multi-sensory environment incorporating 270° floor to ceiling LCD content screens, graphic projection, motion sensing devices, dynamic lighting and surround sound. The floor covering is a high-quality, multi-sport, synthetic turf, designed to bring the footwear benefits to the fore by simulating authentic trial conditions, that further enhance a life-like experience.
Converging analogue and digital worlds, the Teamsport experience kicks off in a virtual PUMA locker room with footballers Griezmann or Lukaku where trialists are transported to a CGI replica of a capacity-filled, atmospheric San Siro Stadium. Reconstructed to a superior level of detail and adaptability, it features an impressive 5 million individual blades of grass, offers full flexibility and control over 152 lights, independent movement of all 80 thousand football fans in the crowd and updatable sponsorship boards, TV screens and pitch patterns.
Lukaku and Griezmann take visitors through a series of eye-to-eye trials, coaching them as their training buddies and sharing their tips and passion for the sport; they are then scored on their performance. At the end of the experience, the stadium comes alive with confetti canons, fireworks, and a cheering crowd. Meanwhile, the Training experience transports participants into ‘The Gym’ a London-based warehouse to train with Lewis Hamilton, who takes them through three trials; ladder, jab and jump, going head-to-head with their idols to develop their skills to be forever faster.
The Skills Cube went live on 29th August on the day of the PUMA 5th Avenue flagship store opening, bringing fans closer to the brand and its ambassadors.
“Facilitating unique and immersive experiences is central to our long-term commercial strategy and the Skill Cube New York delivers on this in every way. This is truly a one of a kind experience and we are confident that our shoppers in the NYC Store will find it extremely engaging and compelling."