Fat Joe, Nike and Foot Locker Rediscover ’90s Hip-Hop in a New York Cab

Brands strengthen partnership in new campaign

The brands share a common DNA. Foot Locker
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

Remember the ’90s, when samples were still analog and you had to drive to the store to buy a new pair of shoes?

Nike and Foot Locker looked to tap into that nostalgia in their most recent campaign, which launched late last month to promote the new Nike Air Origins and Nike Air Frequency packs.

The two brands have a long history. Since they largely serve the same audiences, their fortunes are tied closely together; as Nike’s sales rise, so do Foot Locker’s.

The new campaign goes back to the culture that inspired so much of what that audience created: ’90s hip-hop. In the primary video, Fat Joe of “Lean Back” fame takes some lucky New York City residents on a drive downtown in his “Mo Flow Cab” to the nearest Foot Locker to pick up the new Air Frequency.

Along the way, he challenges them to rap along to classics from Naughty by Nature and Gang Starr. (And no, they don’t get all the lyrics right, either.)

Two additional spots feature rapper Playboi Carti and Celtics star Jayson Tatum “unearthing” their own Nike packs.

This work also marks Nike and Foot Locker’s first collaboration with Bullish, the New York agency founded by Deutsch veterans Michael Duda and Brent Vartan in 2016. Beyond the ads above, they worked with director, Wieden + Kennedy veteran and Lucky Lefty founder Rick Jacques, who created a series of “vertical” iPhone videos featuring the new shoes.

Additionally, the campaign included several pop-up events, and influencers weighed in with their own content last month. It was one last shot of summer for sneakerheads.

“Our Foot Locker shoppers have come to expect the most extensive collection on Nike Air products—and this summer is no different,” said Patrick Walsh, vp of marketing for Foot Locker North America. “Tapping into the 90’s and the retro style trend, the Nike Air Origin and Frequency collections are dropping with a lot of anticipation … the momentum of ‘Discover Your Air’ is just getting started.”


Agency: Bullish
Client: Foot Locker
Campaign: “Discover Your Air”

Tom Kelley, Senior Brand Director
Sean Phifer, Brand Director
Tori Hill, Account Brand Marketing
Caroline Heaton, Brand Manager

Foot Locker
Francine Feder, Vice President Marketing North America
Patrick Walsh, Vice President Marketing North America
Richard Cruz, Senior Director Integrated Marketing
Rachael Schnell. Senior Director Brand Marketing
John Clayton, Manager Social Media
Liz Rivas, Senior Manager Creative Services North America

Bullish, Inc.
Ben Barney, Creative Director
Ryan “Pocket” Fluet, Creative Director
German Rivera Hudders, Copywriter
JJ Kraft, Art Director
Mikki Janower, Designer
Zach Lev, Partner
Brett Andersen, Manager
Shannon Worley, Executive Content Producer
Brent Vartan, Managing Partner

Production: Mass Appeal
Dan Levin, Director
Evan Jake Cohen, Director of Photography
Mike Lobikis, Executive Producer
Corey Deckler, Producer

Editorial House: Whitehouse Post
Matt Hartmann, Editor
Alejandro Villagran, Asst Editor
Michael Somerby, Post Producer
Caitlin Grady, Executive Producer

Mix / Sound Design: WAVE Studios
Chris Afzal, Senior Sound Designer & Senior Mixer
Vicky Ferraro, Mix Producer

Post-Production / VFX: CARBON
Milan Boncich, Colorist
Chris Wiseman, Senior Artist / Creative Lead
Joe Nash, Post Producer
Frank Devlin, Executive Producer

“Flow Joe” by Fat Joe
“Mass Appeal” by Gang Starr
“Hip Hop Hooray” by Naughty by Nature
Music Supervision: Wool & Tusk (Aaron Mercer, Music Supervisor)

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.