New Balance turns back time to launch new 90s inspired trainers


2018 has seen a revival of the 90s: dungarees, bomber jackets, crop tops and, of course, retro sportswear everywhere.

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So, it’s no surprise that leading sportswear brands with a longstanding heritage are jumping on this fashion trend to drive retail sales.

One brand who took 90s nostalgia to a whole new level is New Balance. In partnership with Footlocker, the brand celebrated the launch of the X-90, a new chunky-style trainer inspired by decade, with an immersive pop-up shop in Los Angeles.

The brand took over the 939 Studio in Los Angeles with an authentic, nostalgic interior that put the new trainer center stage and made people fall in love with the era’s youth culture all over again.

Visitors were transported back in time with decade-relevant products, music, TV, and fashion. The fun and interactive space included themed areas to take millennials back to their childhood; a Koosh ball pit, a SNICK lounge, Nickelodeon Double Dare photo moment and a throwback bedroom filled with retro objects.

There was also an innovative feature that allowed the guests to see themselves as a 90s-themed hologram wearing the New Balance trainers. Upon exiting the room, each guest was able to view their personal hologram, which was projected into custom-designed holographic displays.

With picture perfect displays, the memorable brand experience leant itself perfectly to social media, giving visitors lots of opportunity to create shareable content. Guests were encouraged to use hashtags #rewindtothe90s and #x90 to amplify the campaign on social media, which helped to boost awareness of the new product and its heritage.

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The fun experiential experience was free and open to the public for four days. Guests could also purchase a variety of New Balance products along with the brand-new X-90s.

To create hype around the experience, key celebrities from the era were invited to attend the launch party such as Ben Savage, best known for his role as Cory in “Boy Meets World” and Jaleel White, also known as Steve Urkel from “Family Matters”. Cocktails were served and hired actors, dressed in a typically vibrant style, walked through the space to enhance the fully-immersive experience.

“New Balance’s newest model, the X-90, is a great opportunity for Foot Locker to nostalgically immerse our LA consumers into the decade,” said Patrick Walsh, VP of Marketing for Foot Locker North America. “The pop-up is not only a store but an experiential space, reminiscent of 90s youth culture.”

Pop-up shops give brands the opportunity to transform an empty space into an experience that truly reflects its style, story and key messages.

Other pop-up shops that have been given a fun creative twist include the Pinnacle Project by The North Face which saw customers trekking for 2 hours to reach a hard-to-reach mountain-top shop and Dairy Queen’s pop up which celebrated the famous Blizzard ice cream with a unique upside down experience.

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Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.