Brooks' Run Happy Island

As the official footwear sponsor of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Brooks had a 5,000 square foot space at dozens of their biggest races each year. Racers may have been walking in wearing a wide array of footwear brands but we wanted them to leave with only one brand on their mind.

Myself and art director, Blakely Dadson spent a weekend at a race watching what kind of runners were showing up, who they brought with them and how they moved through the expo. In response, we came up with Run Happy Island, a run-centric island nation (and traveling amusement park) that introduces runners and their families to the Brooks brand.

Every visit to the island begins with a stop at the customs hut where visitors sign up via iPad for a Run Happy Island passport. Armed with their official documents, visitors can collect stamps as they ride a giant bucking shoe, race to the top of a smoking volcano, watch an hourly stage show (complete with dance numbers and puppets), win free merchandise at the colorful marketplace and a climb aboard a giant submersible sneaker to have their gait analyzed.

Throughout the development of Run Happy Island we wrote elaborate island backstories, invented new animals, wrote national anthems, developed official seals, created a digital tracking system and concepted a giant hybrid submarine/bus that's still circumnavigating North America.

Launched in August of 2013, Run Happy Island has proved to be a big success for Brooks. Thanks to the passport system, visitors are spending more than twice as much time than in previous Brooks expo booths. With the barcode tracking structure we integrated into the passports, we were also able to digitally arm visitors with their gait analysis information which led to four times more shoe and apparel sales than before.