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Client

Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Portland

2009

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Nike Chalkbot

Deeplocal built the Nike Chalkbot, a tweet-fed, chalk-spraying hydraulic robot that traveled the roads of the Tour de France.

After Chalkbot printed each message, the robot snapped a photo of the message, attached GPS coordinates to it, and sent it back to its submitter. The project drew contributions from thousands of people worldwide and received tremendous attention from the media with no traditional advertising expense. The campaign resulted in a 46% increase in apparel sales for Livestrong.

Part monstrosity, part artistry, the Chalkbot relied on adaptation and ‘gutter technology’. Built in seven weeks by our small artist-led team, the Chalkbot’s brain was an off-the-shelf notebook computer and its spray guns are typically used to paint lines on roadways. The typographic tool that we used to build custom font sets was nothing more than a grid of check boxes on a web page. Every component was reinterpreted. This collapsing of buzz-worthy tech with old-school encoder wheels, trailer cranks, and toothbrushes (used to keep the spray nozzles clean) led to the Chalkbot’s success and intrigue.

Chalkbot swept advertising industry award shows internationally; among other achievements, it was named one of the 10 Best Digital Campaigns of the Decade by the One Club.