Vans – The Knu Stack
August 16th 2023
Legendary street culture brand Vans enlisted Final Frontier to help activate the latest addition to their Knu Skool silhouette: The Knu Stack.
The Knu Stack adds a modern twist to their enduring ‘90s skate shoes, and Vans set out to create an impactful moment in the heart of New York City to bring the new look to life.
We’d been seeking a larger-than-life opportunity to announce our expansion into the US, and there was no better way to kick things off than working with a cultural icon in NYC.
The Naked Eye 3D billboard gave us the opportunity to quite literally think outside the box, as a giant 3D version of Little Simz is seen kicking through the classic VANS chequered branding and dangling the Knu Stack tantalizingly over the heads of passersby.
Partnering with renowned design and animation studio, Woodwork, we were hell-bent on standing out amongst the busy New York skyline.
Woodwork Art Director, Roberto Andreu: “Working on a 3D billboard presents challenges, as the effect can only be fully appreciated from one angle. However, when it all comes together, the audience is in for an incredibly rewarding and immersive experience. The blend of CGI and realistic textures, mixed with the VANS’ signature street chill and grungy vibe, made the whole project unique.”
Although Little Simz’s anatomical proportions were exaggerated to better fit the scene, the rapper herself was not needed to model for any portion of the work.
Andreu: “For the character, we used photogrammetry of Little Simz to texture-map them onto her body parts and outfit, aligning with the campaign style. Given the unconventional proportions, we extended and reimagined the photography, adapting it to the new anatomy.”
The creative team then meticulously rigged and animated the sequences to add movement and life to the character. They also lit the entire scene to replicate natural lighting and enhance the 3D effect, making it truly eye-catching.
We’re no strangers to seeing our work on the global stage, but witnessing Vans towering over the streets of New York City at the entrance to Pennsylvania Station was something to behold. Even more gratifyingly, we found a partner perfectly aligned with our own creative philosophy.
Final Frontier Executive Creative Director, Claus Cibils: “I think we’re in tune with Vans, their way of being. It’s about the culture, going beyond. I’ve realised that they’re what our ideal client should be. They’re so free, which is rare for a major brand.”
Vans Vice President of Global Creative, Rob Teague: “Consumers are ready and wanting us to show up in a fresh yet authentic way. This campaign is a bold swing at stopping people in their tracks, forcing reconsideration, and injecting a renewed energy for our brand. An important piece of that was our approach to OOH, which led to one of our most interactive activations: a 3D billboard in New York City. This year’s campaign connects the dots between what our brand values, and the iconic products we make that have represented that ethos for decades. It’s something larger and more holistic than we’ve done as a brand in the past.”
The 8-second animation is expected to be seen live by an estimated 4.5 million people. You can catch it until the end of August on the corner of 7th and 3rd.
Vice President, Creative: Rob Teague
Creative Director: Bruno Luglio
ACD/Art Director: David Happekotte
Director, Production: Nate Rogers
Senior Producer: Antonietta Croft
Senior Producer: Max Rubins
Creative Project Manager: Chase Weikal
Director of Music, Partnerships, Culture (Global): Steve Balser
Manager, Brand Management, Life + Style: Marissa Smith
Director, Digital Media (Global + Americas): Elena Carroll
Senior Manager, Media & Advertising (Americas): Katrina Hofmann
Manager, Media & Advertising (Americas): Amanda Randel
Senior Manager, Corporate Communications: Charlie Cawte
Production Company: Final Frontier
Executive Creative Director: Claus Cibils
Executive Producer: Gus Karam, Julieta Zajaczkowski
Head of Production: Mary Antonieta Lopez
Producer: Milagros Vilapreño
Design & Animation Studio: Woodwork
Art director: Roberto Andreu
Creative director: Marvin Koppejan
3D lead: Ernst Noort
3D motion designers: Lennard Goede, Pascal Amestegui Fuentes
2D motion designer: Hidde Maas Producer: Sabine van Wechem
Producer: Nina Fabel
Producer: Gayle van Bochove