Onitsuka Tiger Tansu Shoe

Onitsuka Tiger, the Japanese shoe company owned by ASICS, used a traveling wooden “Tansu Shoe” cabinet to communicate the shoe’s unique heritage and authentic Japanese credentials, while reinforcing the brand’s urban cool with something completely fresh and contemporary. Tansu is the traditional art of Japanese cabinetry, featuring delicately ornamented, handcrafted chests and cabinets demonstrating master craftmanship. The Tansu Shoe, displayed at stores and trade fairs, as well as on the Onitsuka Tiger site, won a Gold Design Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival 2010.

Onitsuka Tiger Tansu shoe

Onitsuka Tiger Tansu shoe cabinetry

The wooden shoe was handcrafted over four months in Ogura Tansu Ten, a 9th-generation family workshop in Niigata. Custom-made ornaments featured motifs depicting icons from Onitsuka Tiger’s rich history, linking the past with the present. A flawless lacquer finish, airtight drawers, and even three secret compartments hidden behind false doors and pseudo-floors, established the all-important authenticity of the design. Intriguing content made each compartment a discovery: a handmade miniature workshop, speakers playing a workshop soundscape, a screen showing a ‘making-of’ video.

Onitsuka Tiger Tansu shoe

Onitsuka Tiger Tansu shoe

The sneaker’s global tour was a resounding success. At stores and trade fairs, sneaker fans tried to unlock the secret compartments to claim the treasures within. Intrigued, people went on-line to discover more. Unique visits to onitsukatiger.com grew 125%, while total traffic saw a massive increase of 460%. Interest in the collection went up 20%, direct traffic (word of mouth) increased 40%, and referral traffic jumped 152%. The story of the shoe spread around the world, through blogs, tweets, magazines, showing that sometimes, to build something beautiful, even in a virtual world, you need the tools of a traditional craftsman.

Click on the image below to play the video.


The Tansu Shoe campaign was developed at Amsterdam Worldwide by executive art director Richard Gorodecky, creative director Andrew Watson, copywriter Dan Goransson, art director Rickard Engstrom, planning director Jonathan Fletcher, planner Ben Jaffe, producer Samantha Koch, business development director Nicolette Lazarus, account director Paula Ferrai, account manager Romain Lauby, working with ASICS Europe communications manager Sandra Koopmans.

The Tensu Sneaker was developed at Ogura Tansu Ten. Online work was done at InLoveWith. Photography was by Michael Dubois via Orchard Represents. Stop motion photography was by Bill Tanaka. Replica models were made by Noch Display.