Scoring a pair of Jordans has turned into an art form, with sneaker collectors and aficionados regularly lining up days in advance of a Jordan Brand shoe release. During the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles the iconic brand flipped the script and gave youth the upper hand in landing pieces from the brand’s City of Angels collection.
Hosting a pop-up space in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles, Jordan Brand required entrants to not only RSVP via app, but also show a middle school, high school or college ID to access the space.
The result was an energy much different than other pop-up spaces hosted by athletic apparel companies during All-Star Weekend. Rather than driving hoards of adult consumers to its space–many of whom would likely purchase the shoes to re-sell them–Jordan Brand gave groups of young consumers who otherwise may not be able to purchase a pair of the shoes a chance to interact with the brand.
The space inside of the Jordan Brand pop-up shop was highly curated, with details emerging from the brand’s first-ever NBA All-Star uniform design and City of Angels collection. The art and imagery inside of the space was black and white and focused heavily on the sport of basketball.
With basketball a main focus of the space, Jordan Brand athletes, like Russell Westbrook, made their way into the space to surprise guests. Jordan Brand also celebrated its history, welcoming notable designers, like Tinker Hatfield, to explore the space and engage with guests.
Outside of its strong basketball and youth focuses, Jordan Brand’s NBA All-Star space was geared largely toward creation. Nearly half of the pop-up shop’s first of two floors were dedicated to makers spaces, with designers helping consumers bespoke purchases and even sew new designs.
Beyond basketball and apparel design, Jordan Brand focused on lifestyle collaborations in its NBA All-Star space. The entire second floor of the space was turned into two recording studios in partnership with Los Angeles-based Interscope Records. The studio spaces were fully functional, meaning students could go inside and record tracks. Throughout the weekend, guests including Grammy Award winning recording artist, Usher, made their way into the space.
The recording space wasn’t the only partnership Jordan Brand engaged in with Interscope Records during NBA All-Star Weekend. The two brands also collaborated to release an Air Jordan III sneaker.
The takeaway for marketers from Jordan Brand’s NBA All-Star weekend activation is a lesson on how to blend a brand’s mission and history to meet the consumption needs of new generations. The space provided some of Jordan Brand’s youngest consumers with an education on the brand’s past, while providing a chance to explore its future. By allowing this critical consumer demographic to explore the space at their own pace and without the push of older consumers, Jordan Brand began cementing an important marketing partnership.
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