Asics Salutes 500 NYC Marathon Runners by 3-D Printing Statues of Them

And the social tie-in on Sunday will be just as amazing

Headshot of Tim Nudd

Asics and ad agency Vitro always do something special around the New York City Marathon, whether it's having people race against a virtual Ryan Hall in the subways or daring you to remain upright on the treadmill from hell.

But this year, they've outdone themselves with an awesome campaign that's both physically and virtually magical.

The running shoe brand always honors runners, and this year it's doing so in classic style—by making little statues of them. It asked everyone who entered the marathon to send in 2-D front and side head shots. Then it hired a team of artists to turn the 2-D images into printable 3-D files, creating small yet life-like statues for each runner. (It was capped at 500 statues, first come first served.)

That's cool enough. But on race day this Sunday, it gets cooler.

Vitro photographed each statue in three different landmark locations along the course. Then its digital team linked the photos with each runner's Facebook account and his or her RFID race timing and tracking chip. So, when the runner passes each landmark in real life, a photo of the mini-marathoner statue passing that same landmark will auto-post to the runner's Facebook account in real time—providing midrace updates to family and friends.

But that's still not all. The 500 statues were booked in less than eight hours, and lots of runners were left out. So, Vitro is also holding a Twitter marathon. Any runner in the real race can enter, and for every tweet on their behalf, Vitro will advance them along a digital marathon course. The first 50 runners to finish will get their statues made as well. You can visit to sign up.

It's great stuff all around from a brand that keeps improving its time every year.

More images, plus credits, below.


Mile 8


Mile 15


Mile 24



Client: Asics

Agency: Vitro

Creative Group Head: K.T. Thayer

Digital Creative Director: Oliver Duncan

Art Directors: Jeremy Stabile, Will Roth, Ryan Smith

Copywriters:  Bill Wanek, Doug Hyland

Production Director: Michael Berberick

Production Manager: Cristi Perkins

Digital Production Manager: Allison Mellon

Digital Designer: Andres Herrera

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.
Publish date: October 31, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT