Nike x HQ Trivia


High heat sneaker drops are exciting, but when it comes to taking the “L” because of bots, it’s an experience not worth repeating.

In the sneaker world, bots are “software used to hit retail websites from multiple remote IP addresses in order to purchase multiple pairs of shoes without getting banned by the retailer.” (Motherboard, 2017).

For Nike Air Max Day 2018, we wanted to celebrate the iconic sneaker in a big way while still being relevant to the visual center established by Nike.

“Turning Imagination into Reality” / The 2018 Air Max VC was centered around the imagination and how it inspired the design of some of the most infamous Air Max silhouettes.

The Idea

If Nike was sharing all these Air Max facts out through their social channels, what if we quizzed the sneaker community and rewarded those that knew the answers with exclusive sneakers?

This idea of “knowledge as currency” accomplishes a few things:

  • Gives die-hard fans a chance to win based on knowledge
  • Educates people about the history of Nike Air
  • Empower players to beat the bots

Since design/production timeline was short, we initially stuck with Instagram Stories as our framework for serving up trivia questions while IG Live served as a way to push notifications to users prior to the start of a game.

Nike Air Max Trivia via IG Stories

Asking Questions / Hacking IG Stories to create a trivia game

Answering Questions / Hacking IG Stories to create a trivia game

It was evident that there were huge logistical hurdles in getting the trivia game to work properly on IG Stories:

  • Uploading each question at the right time/cadence
  • Keeping track of who answered all questions correctly
  • Getting the right talent to ask the questions
  • Actually creating the video content
  • Fulfilling the transaction between Nike and the winners on IG

Nike x HQ Trivia

The next best solution was to collaborate directly with the quiz masters themselves, HQ Trivia. After several rounds of pitching and refining, we successfully we got Nike and HQ Trivia to partner up for Air Max Day. Players of HQ Trivia Air Max Day edition would get a chance to win $100,000 and a pair of the HQ Trivia Air Max 270s.

Host of HQ Trivia, Scott Rogowsky with the HQ Trivia Air Max 270 box as designed by R/GA Portland.

Experience design included moments leading up to HQ Trivia Air Max Day, during the HQ game itself and after the game.

The deliverables:

  • Schedule for communications and gameplay
  • Digital Billboards (New York City and Los Angeles)
  • IG Stories coming from Nike Sportswear brand
  • HQ Trivia Air Max 270 Shoebox
  • Transactional page for winners redeeming their shoes

Experience Overview

HQ Trivia Air Max Day / Experience Overview

Out of Home / Billboards

LA billboard counting down to game time a few days prior

LA billboard counting down to game time on Air Max Day

LA billboard as a display for players playing nearby

LA Billboard IRL

NYC Billboard on 34th Street IRL


The following screens were put together by our visual designers with the help of our copywriter out in R/GA Portland.

Transactional Flow

In addition to splitting the pot of $100,000, winners were also rewarded with a pair of HQ Trivia Air Max 270. The transactional flow was pretty straightforward aside from the share flow, which allowed winners to brag to their friends about copping the kicks.

Transactional experience for winners of HQ Trivia Air Max Day

And the Kicks


  • First brand partnership with HQ
  • 1.8 million live players
  • 488k actively engaged for 23 minutes
  • 4 winners $100,000 pot
  • 4 pairs of custom HQ x Air Max 270 sneakers were given away

The Team

It took teams from Nike, HQ Trivia and R/GA Portland to get this across the line. Below are the people that were involved on the R/GA side.

  • Claire Badhams / Executive Producer – Production
  • Sam Levy / Group Account Director – Client Services
  • Aaron Pollick / Creative Director – Visual Design
  • Gene Lu / Creative Director – Experience Design
  • Karli Pedersen / Associate Designer – Visual Design
  • Jeremy VanCleef / Design Director – Visual Design
  • Kris Cantrell / Sr. Copywriter – Copy
  • Gavin Leader / Senior Technology Director – Technology
  • Jason McCoskery / Technology Director – Technology

In the Press