Foot Locker Travels Back to the ’90s With Wildly Nostalgic Ads for Nike Air Max Day

From aerobics to cartoons, Laundry Service lampoons a decade

The campaign, which launched yesterday for Nike Air Max Day, even collected its content in a "Discover Your Air Network" mock cable network.

Foot Locker’s new digital campaign from agency Laundry Service is absolutely overflowing with ’90s nostalgia.

A series of fun, humorous online ads mix tropes from that era of advertising with modern sensibilities. The campaign also borrows from a jingle that ran during a classic Foot Locker spot in the decade prior. The result is a series of ads people might actually stick around for, especially if you’re old enough to remember classic Nickelodeon commercial breaks.

The campaign, which launched yesterday for Nike Air Max Day, even collected its content in a “Discover Your Air Network” mock cable network.

“We set out to unveil some of our hottest Nike Air Max Drops of the season in tandem with releasing ownable creative content that brings our #DiscoverYourAir platform to life for our sneaker community,” Foot Locker North America vp, marketing Patrick Walsh said in a statement. “By creating Foot Locker’s very own cable network, we’re celebrating the timelessness of Nike Air and adding in some of today’s biggest tastemakers to celebrate Nike Air Max Day and the sneakers that resonate across generations of sneaker shoppers.”

Custom Discover Your Air Network content will continue to roll out through Foot Locker’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat channels through March.

The brand’s Houston Galleria location is also hosting an interactive “throwback” experience which launched on March 21 and runs through the end of the month. Yesterday, the store served as the filming location for an “Air Max Supply” home-shopping show hosted by Jacques Slade.

“We got incredibly excited rewatching classic Foot Locker spots from the ’90s and took inspiration from their wild energy and sense of fun,” Jordan Fox, head of Laundry service, told Adweek. “Our goal was to thread the needle and embrace both nostalgia and the present cultural moment. The target audience here ranges from sneakerheads who remember the early ’90s fondly to newer fans who weren’t even born yet.”

He explained that while the campaign “formally and aesthetically” embraces ’90s tropes, the “casting, comedic voice and distribution approach” are contemporary.

“The entire target audience spends the majority of their time on social media, so of course we wanted to meet them where they are,” he added of the digital-only nature of the campaign.

Ultimately, he hopes the ads can entertain audiences and build cache for Foot Locker and Nike Air Max.

“It’s easy to forget the deep value and credibility that can be earned by entertaining people and making them happy,” he said. “We’re fortunate to have partners who embrace that.”

@ErikDOster Erik Oster is an agencies reporter for Adweek.