On October 20, smartphone-touting sneakerheads ventured across Los Angeles to participate in Foot Locker’s first “The Hunt” augmented reality (AR) scavenger hunt. Those able to unlock geo-targeted AR clues throughout the city earned the chance to be among the first to acquire new limited-edition LeBron 16 King “Court Purple” sneakers.
Participants were encouraged to:
- Download the Foot Locker App;
- Use the app to decipher geo-targeted clues;
- Go to locations to collect objects in augmented reality;
- Compete all three levels to unlock an access card to acquire the shoes.
The virtual game started at 11:00 p.m. after the end of the Los Angles Laker’s first home game of the NBA season at Staples Center and the first game for Mr. James, the four-time MVP, with his new team. The shoe sold out in less than two hours.
“Foot Locker has always looked for new ways to elevate the shopping experience for our customers,” said Frank Bracken, VP and GM of Foot Locker, U.S., in a statement. “It was a natural evolution to embrace AR, taking our scavenger hunts to the next level.”
Nike first tapped AR-gaming for limited-edition drops with the 2015 launch of its SNKRS app. The brand added a geolocation component by introducing SNKRS Stash last year, often compared to Pokémon-Go. In one instance, a release for a shoe in collaboration with celebrity chef David Chang was unlocked when SNKRS Stash users held their cameras up to Mr. Chang’s famed restaurant in the East Village. Foot Locker’s promotion stands out because it was tied to a specific event.
For sneaker releases, the SNKRS app helped even the playing field with re-sellers who would frequently use bots to score early releases online and avoided competition in lines outside stores that could sometimes lead to violent incidents. SNKRS also brought back a treasure hunt experience to the sneaker release that many say was reminiscent of how things were before the internet.
Ron Faris, GM of Nike’s NYC digital studio and the SNKRS app, told Highsnobiety earlier this year, “For many of the most fanatical sneakerheads, how they cop the shoe is almost as important as the shoe itself.”