Ever notice how random things look like they have faces? Like this:
There are a few Tumblr blogs that pay homage to these occurrences of anthropomorphism and now that I’ve pointed it out, you’ll probably start noticing these faces everywhere. You’re welcome.
Jumping on this micro-trend, Nike just released an app for Nike Free shoes in Japan called Nike Free Face, where users can bend and twist the Nike shoe to match their face. Leveraging facial and expression recognition technology, it photographs the users’ contorted face through a webcam and matches their face to the shoe’s form.
The app does an amazing job of highlighting features of the products—the flexibility of the shoe and the ability to personalize it—in a subtle and engaging way. On top of showcasing product features, the app gets people thinking about the shoe differently, positioning them not only as a utility product, but also as an expression of self.
These kinds of interactive opportunities that present products through a different lens are a clever approach for legacy brands like Nike to ensure they stay relevant and fresh. But more importantly, Nike’s Free Face app is fun, silly and shows that the brand doesn’t take itself too seriously. Allowing consumers to play with a product and have fun with it are the kind of online experiences that people remember and talk about.
Just think, when was the last time you had this much fun with a shoe?