The moment I became aware of branding was at young age when I noticed that I owned and cherished signature Michael Jordan and Andre Agassi sneakers at the same time. You see, this was a rare occurrence for me because my parents only bought me new sneakers when an old pair was beyond repair. I guess I was fanatical about superstar athletes, the aesthetics of the sneakers, and the cultural weight they carried. That was enough to persuade my mom and dad to hook-it-up. It was at this point where I realized that if Nike wanted to do something, they were going to do it bigger and better than anyone else.
Obviously, this mentality exists in Nike culture when it comes to innovation in product design and marketing (ie: Dunk to Hyperdunk / Air Max 1 to Air Max 360) but I had that same childhood realization again last night when I attended a Block Party for the launch of the new Nike Sportswear store at 21 Mercer in New York. Sure it was the first time they’ve launched a lifestyle line such as this. It was also the first time they’ve taken over a city block to party in such a way, but that didn’t mean they had to follow suit. Instead they reinvented the block party.
Hundreds of invited guests including the who’s who of street culture, pro athletes, pop culture icons, and of course…hipsters, saw Mercer Street transformed into a New York stadium complete with corn dogs, mascots, outfield seating, and a marching band.
Check out event photos after the jump.
You needed one of these wristbands to get in.
21 Mercer storefront. Notice the newspaper on the windows. They didn’t want people to see into the building prior to the big reveal. They didn’t use plain newspaper to block the windows, they used newspapers featuring “championship” imagery.
Marc Ronson bumped it all night long.
Chad Phillips (KidRobot) & Friend
A-Ron (Off Bowery) and Friends
Trendy ladies everywhere.
Waiting in anticipation for the big reveal.
People even got on the roof to see.
The countdown clock hits 00:01.
The clock hits 00:00 and the marching band comes out of nowhere and begins to hype the crowd up.
Spike Lee & Roger Federer introduce 21 Mercer
Spike Lee, Roger Federer, & Serena Williams
Maria Sharapova enters 21 Mercer
C. Black & Mr. Ryan
Katy Perry & Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes