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Best foot forward

An Adidas installation at the Toronto Eaton Centre early last year put dye sublimation on display

April 5, 2021  By Kavita Sabharwal-Chomiuk


Product installations are meant to tell a story and drum up customer interest in a unique, interactive way. In the case of an installation completed on behalf of Adidas, Foot Locker and lifestyle marketing firm MKTG at the Toronto Eaton Centre early last year, the installation did just that, and more.

The installation was designed in a collaborative process between MKTG and PNH Solutions to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of Adidas’ Superstar shoe. The 15-foot-by-15-foot brand activation was installed at the shopping mall on Feb. 21, 2020, with the event held from Feb. 22 to 23. The installation’s print, fabrication (welding, millwork, LED lighting), installation and decommission [of the project] was managed by PNH.



“PNH Solutions completed both the installation and decommission process with two people from its team,” says Katherine Hudon, marketing coordinator at PNH Solutions. “While the installation took about five hours, the decommission took around three hours.”


The idea



Because Adidas was celebrating an important milestone, Hudon says MKTG wanted to highlight the value of the brand’s Superstar shoe through its importance in culture and history. The aim was to create a powerful brand experience to increase foot traffic to the nearby Foot Locker store, create an online buzz on social media, and ultimately drive sales.

“Through a collaborative process, PNH Solutions, led by Carlos de la Rosa’s creative direction, and MKTG developed an activation with a bank vault and museum-inspired display cases to present the shoes as products worth protecting and preserving,” explains Hudon.

The installation

To further this point, PNH designed and built a photo booth to look like a bank vault and added lit-up podiums where it would display the Superstar shoes. The podiums were battery-operated, allowing the public to walk around them freely without the risk of tripping on wires.

PNH drew attention to the installation using an original concept with a lenticular wall featuring frontlit graphics, visible from different levels of the mall. Hudon says the addition of the lenticular wall further encouraged passersby to double-take and walk around the display to identify both images.

Once the public was on the site of the installation, they were treated to a live DJ and were able to get their photo taken inside the main structure by a professional photographer; they were later able to share those photos on social media with different hashtags.

The installation featured a double-sided silicone edge graphic (SEG) Fabric Lightbox on the ceiling, providing ambient lighting for the photographer on one side and advertisement on the other that was visible from higher stories in the mall. The SEG fabric frames will also allow Adidas to easily replace the graphics present for future campaigns, if desired.

To further entice customers to visit the nearby Foot Locker store and encourage sales, on-site brand ambassadors were promoting prizes with purchases.

PNH printed most of the graphics for the installation, from both the inside and outside walls on the main structure to the lenticular wall, on fabric. They did this using a dye-sublimation process on the Durst Rhotex 320. The remainder of the visuals featuring the campaign’s branding were printed on polymer flooring materials using the Durst Rho 900.

The reception

According to Hudon, the activation was well-received by the public, MKTG and Adidas. In fact, The Adidas Group was so impressed that it kept the products used in the installation to display within the main lobby of its Canadian headquarters.

“Thank you for everyone on the team that had a hand in making this come to life! The feedback from our client and from consumers on the ground was exceptional,” says Jake Clements, manager – Live at MKTG. “We are thrilled with how we made the concept come to life from start to finish. Despite the tight timelines, we were able to work together to deliver on stakeholder expectations. We appreciated the effort, attention and, most importantly, the teamwork that led to the final product.”

This article was originally published in the January/February 2021 issue of PrintAction.

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