WHAT DO YOU get when you combine the popular Japanese anime and manga series “Naruto” with actor Michael B. Jordan and New York-based retailer Coach?
The brand’s “Coach x Michael B. Jordan” pop-up was based on the idea that “everyone needs to belong – even the outsiders and misfits,” Joanna Roopchand, Lead 3-D Designer, Coach, says. “Coach, Michael B. Jordan and his favorite anime series ‘Naruto’ all share this inclusive instinct: championing an outsider who finds like-minded friends to aid him on his journey. With this collaboration, Coach underscores the importance of belonging to and finding your team.”
The challenge was translating that into a space representative of the vision. Through graphics, digital components and materiality, the team was able to create a pop-up that featured unique interactivity and comprehensive visual merchandising.
The space housed an interactive game, allowing users to learn and test their ninja skills, like “Naruto.” Says David Boddy, Lead Digital, Coach, “Combining lots of fast, gestural movements and body tracking technology, we delivered a level of gamification to the customers resulting in an exhilarating experience that delighted all, leading them to share their experience widely all over social media.” The game asked players to perform correctly timed Jutsu poses, with each session lasting 60 seconds – specific poses at the right time earned players points.
The design team worked closely with the “Naruto” animators and their own engineering team to ensure their designs were in line with the show’s vision and the pop-up’s message. “With such a dedicated fan-base, attention to detail was of paramount importance. Our interpretation resonated wonderfully with both the fans of the series, who largely came and experienced Coach for the first time across the global pop-ups, as well as Coach customers, who in turn reveled in the world of anime for the first time,” says Boddy.
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