The ASICS GEL-KAYANO 25 is a running shoe so advanced, the only thing holding runners back is their minds. While wearable fitness trackers, music and scenery pamper the mind, inadvertently making the body more injury prone, ASICS believes in strengthening it. What if we could find a way to highlight this to the running world, making them look at their mind as a runner’s muscle and putting our shoe at the center of the conversation?

Our answer to that question was the Blackout Track. We built the world’s first runner’s track to train the mind. Together with sport scientists, we constructed an indoor track with no music—pink noise speakers to create an audio vacuum; no tech—removed with metal detectors; no scenery; no starting line; and no finish line.

ASICS Blackout Track gets right to the heart of what matters to running fans: performance. The one-of-a-kind running experience was tried and tested by premiere running athletes, admired in the running community, as well as by influencers and journalists. It elevated conversation way beyond the product itself and positioned ASICS as the brand that supports a runner’s performance in every way: body and mind.

ASICS’ exploration of the running experience was used to connect running fans to the ASICS brand in an authentic and powerful way, turning around some incredible results for the business, as well as the runners. Journalists, influencers and talent lined up to take part in the experience and to help us spread our message over the world.

The Blackout Track ran for four days. Journalists, influencers and talent tried the track for 20 minutes each, making it a very personal live experience.

We had a partly pre-recorded launch film going out on the first day, together with press material, high-res images and ongoing content with our running influencers and talent.

On days three and four, we organized a scientific experiment to see how big of a role the mind plays when running. The results of the experiment were released a couple of weeks after the live event itself, proving that the mind accounts for 5 percent of performance on tracks.

To make sure anyone in the world could try a blackout run, we introduced a Blackout Edition of the Runkeeper app, turning off music and notifications.

The track was the earned engine for the whole campaign, powerful enough to drive advertising, in-store, digital and across social media.

The Impact

  • Sales increase: Without GEL-KAYANO 25 having any groundbreaking new features, or the budget being larger than the year before, sales went up 125% for GEL-KAYANO 25 compared to GEL-KAYANO 24 the year before. (The target was a 10%increase, compared with the 2017 shoe launch.)
  • Earned reach: 2.2 billion (the target was 150 million) in multiple publications (e.g., Sky News Live). The ASICS brand promise of “A Sound Mind in a Sound Body” was highlighted. Coverage was highly brand relevant for ASICS, as well as big in numerics.
  • The Blackout edition in Runkeeper was downloaded more than 170,000 times globally in one week and is now a permanent feature in the app.