Last year, Footlocker made some news when they released a rather comical commercial of NBA Star James Harden’s creation of the “Harden Soul” R&B album (obviously a joke), and then proceeded to send special “Harden Soul” gift packages to various media outlets. These gift packages included a “Harden Soul” t-shirt as well as a special limited edition James Harden USB flash drive.
For those who don’t know, James Harden is known in the NBA for his all-star caliber play as well as his long trademarked beard. He is one of those players who everyone who follows the NBA will know the name of because of his unique appearance. One thing people don’t get to see is what Harden looks like without his big bushy beard, unless they scour the internet for old photographs. Thanks to the flash drive though, they could now get a glimpse of the unbearded Harden, simply by removing the USB case, which is a replica of his famous beard.
While last year’s video was quite amusing, to say the least, and the flash drive couldn’t have been more hilarious if they had tried, Footlocker definitely succeeded in creating the viral media spectacle that they had hoped for. One unknown fact about the bearded flash drive is that it was actually 3D printed by a company called NRI, which was contracted to create it by a well-known worldwide advertising agency network, BBDO, who had been working with Footlocker.
“This was definitely one of the more creative ways we have leveraged our 3D technology,”Digital Fabrication Specialist at NRI, Arthur Young-Spivey told 3DPrint.com. “This project resulted in a combination of technology and design that has never been done before in order to help our clients create a unique experience for their customers.”
BBDO provided NRI with 2-dimensional images of Harden’s face, from which they created a digital 3D model that was ready to be 3D printed. To print out the casing for the flashdrive, NRI utilized a 3D Systems Projet 660 Pro 3D printer, which uses high performance composite powder to print in full color. It only took the team one full day of printing, followed by another day of post-production, after testing several different prints in order to come up with the desired final product.
This goes to show that 3D printing is a very useful tool in printing custom products in only a matter of days. As you can see in the resulting prints, the flash drive resembles James Harden quite accurately. What do you think? Do you foresee 3D printing being used in promotions like this in the future? Discuss in the 3D Printed James Harden USB drive forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the official “Harden Soul” commercial below:
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