ASICS Origami in Pursuit of Perfection

ASICS, an international athletic equipment company, is winning awards for its Origami-themed corporate image kit, most recently the Grand Prix for Design at the Eurobest Advertising Festival this week. The press resource, developed for journalists and retailers by Nordpol+ in Hamburg, included a DVD, booklet and film featuring the designer of the Tiger basketball shoe and origami by German artist Sipho Mabona.

Origami octopus and CG fish in ASICS commercial

ASICS, named for the phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano” – a sound mind in a sound body, was formed in 1977, a merger between GTO, Jelenk and Onitsuka. Kihachiro Onitsuka, who brought the shoe business into the partnership, started in 1949.

Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding, (ori Japanese for to fold, kami = paper). It always starts with a plain sheet of paper and the inventiveness and will of the artist to create perfection. Same with the development of a sport shoe. It’s all about working very precisely – about looking for something to improve. That’s how Asics became the number one running brand in the world. And that’s why Origami was chosen to illustrate the corporate-image kit.

The video picks up some of the inspiration for the brand. Onitsuka found inspiration for his shoes in 1951 while chewing on a salad of cucumber and cold octopus. He realized that if he could mimic the concave shape of the octopus’ suckers in rubber, he could create a shoe capable of gripping a basketball court, allowing the wearer to stop on a dime. The resulting shoe was named the Onitsuka Tiger.

Onitsuka died in September 2007, while the Origami campaign was in post production.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Origami campaign was developed at Nordpol+, Hamburg, by creative director Lars Ruehmann, copywriter Sebastian Behrendt and art director Sean Kirby.

Origami artist was Sipho Mabona. See Mabona’s origami from the campaign on his Flickr channel.

Stop motion animation was developed by Kathrin Albers at Stoptrick Animation Hamburg with director of photography Jim Lacy.

Animation was manipulated at nform, Hamburg, by 3D artist André Junker and Christoffer Wolters, Sven Hauth, with Thomas Belitzki and Tobias Houfek.

Filming was shot by director Tim Schierwater via Element e, Hamburg, with producer Florian Liertz.

Post production was done by Adrew Orbahn and Ben Liese at Acolori Medienproduktions. Sound and music were designed by Steven Schwalbe and Thomas Suess at Audioforce. Sound was mixed by Pierre Brand at Primetime Studios.

See the making of the TV ad in a 2.2 mb pdf file (German language) at Pixeldoggy.

The Origami campaign won a Silver for TV at Clio 2008, a Gold for TV and Cinema at the London International Awards 2008 TV & Cinema Gold, and the Grand Prix for Design at Eurobest 2008.