One of Japan’s most watched sporting events is a running event called Ekiden, a marathon relay. The most famous is the Hakone Ekiden where 10 runners from universities each run 20+ km over the 2 days of January 2 and 3 every year. This year’s was its 86th race.
Nike Japan tasked W+K Tokyo to come up with an innovative, interactive campaign to cheer and celebrate the four universities that Nike supports: Komazawa, Josai, Toyo, and Waseda.
During the race, each runner on the team runs and passes the “Tasuki”, a cloth sash baton, to the next runner. The Tasuki is the symbol of the strong bond and will of the teammates. Ekiden and the passing of the Tasuki resonate with the Japanese people’s mentality of uniting the team’s spirit.
THE IDEA: NIKE TASUKI TWITTER
We set up an official Nike Running Twitter account and kicked it off with a fun Ekiden event. First, we collected cheering tweets and sewed strong and passionate ones onto individual tasukis for each team.
We also streamed the stitching live on USTREAM.
The cheers must have reached the runners! Toyo University won the race 2 years in a row while all other Nike supported teams placed in the Top 8.
Within 12 hours after the race, the stitched messages were put together into a big, long Tasuki to be presented to each team and also be displayed at the Nike Harajuku flagship store. The messages represented the dramatic race and the passion from the fans, alumni and teammates.
The Nike Running Twitter announced a celebration event to take place at Nike Harajuku the day after the race. Messages flew around Twitter and gathered hundreds.
Special Thanks to our friends at Rhizomatiks who made this happen!!