Nike Made an Air Max Coloring Book That Soars to Life in AR

Customized kicks take flight in AKQA campaign

AKQA and Nike just keep getting airborne.

First, the agency's São Paulo office crafted an augmented-reality shopping experience that launched the Air Max 2090 into the clouds (virtually speaking, natch).

Now, AKQA Tokyo, Shanghai and New York present "Create with Air Max," a 56-page zine for Nike Japan that combines IRL and virtual features to engage fans' imaginations.

The coloring book lets users decorate black-and-white drawings of the shoes and use their phones to view the tricked-out kicks hovering in the air.

You can check out the elevated content in this short project film:

3-D images of the sneakers float in real-time as fans color in sections of the physical zine pages, and the final creations are sharable as brief animations.

AKQA produced 1,000 copies of "Create with Air Max," which also includes interviews and input from young Japanese influencers such as fashion model/YouTuber Aoi Ihara, filmmaker Spikey John, hip-hop group KandyTown, and environmental activist Mona of No Plastic Japan.

The zine dropped last week as a giveaway at Nike and Atmos stores in Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka.

In the concepting phase, AKQA knew it wanted to celebrate creativity, but had to work within the strictures of Covid-19 lockdowns, which curtailed commercial production and made it impossible to stage innovative street events (a staple of the shop's celebrated work for Nike).

Quickly realizing that folks weary of voluntary isolation yearned to explore creativity in new ways, the agency decided to turn the shoes into a blank canvas—in both senses of the word.

But … why create a coloring book?

"AR requires a visual trigger," explains Daniel Busch, associate creative director at AKQA. "At the same time, craftsmanship and design process are universally admired in Japan."

The project targets "Japan's tight-knit creative and sneakerhead community, with a focus on young female audiences interested in sneakers, fashion and culture," Busch says.

With immersive entertainment and pop-culture diversions in high demand, "it enables Nike to connect with consumers in a culturally relevant and meaningful way," he says.


Client: Nike
Agency: AKQA Tokyo, Shanghai and New York
Group Creative Director: Tim McDonell
Associate Creative Director: Daniel Busch
Creatives: August Ostberg, David Svedenstrom
Designer & Art Director: Matteus Faria
Brand Editor: Shunsuke Mori
Motion Designer: Zack Chua
Strategist: Kasumi Mizoguchi
UX designer: Gabe Beck
Client Partner: Hideaki Hara
Account Director: Faris Raucci
Senior Project Manager: Eiji Nakamura
Director of Technology: Steven Gutteridge
Creative Technology: Buboy Paguio, Chewy Wu
Tech Manager: Joe Jin
Photography: Andrew Goldie

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