It took some time for me to experience the oft-discussed “runner’s high,” but when I did, there was no turning back. High-intensity exercise releases serotonin, endorphins and dopamine to the brain, giving a person the same euphoric feeling that drugs do.
Leaning into that point, Swedish sports fashion brand Björn Borg and agency Nord DDB opened a pop-up store in Amsterdam filled with workout gear. Strangely enough, money was not accepted at this store. Instead, drugs were the only currency accepted. Seriously, visitors could swap drugs for workout gear.
Sounds crazy, right? But given that it took place in famously drug-tolerant Amsterdam, it was actually an offer that several shoppers were willing to take.
The pop-up, part of Björn Borg’s nutty “Chase the Exerhighs” campaign, was decorated with trippy graphics—a sneaker-clad, running brain—and fluorescent, strobe lighting. Of course, this generated a good amount of foot traffic.
Some visitors immediately swapped “the best weed in town” for a funky tee. Others were initially skeptical, asking if the operation was legal. How can you not think of this as “21 Jump Street” meets “To Catch a Predator”?
Those who traded drugs for swag received vacuum-packed items from a limited-edition collection featuring exclusive illustrations by Patrick Saville.
While on one level, the campaign could be seen as glorifying drugs by making them as mainstream as government currency, the brand’s bigger message is that healthy living is the best kind of high.
“I believe anyone can agree with us that exercise is better than drugs,” said Jonas Lindberg Nyvang, marketing director at Björn Borg. “It’s amazing how the brain reacts to exercise and how it can equal joy and euphoria at the same time. In fact, training releases such an amount of stimulating substances in your brain that it could be illegal in some countries.”
Client: Björn Borg
Marketing Director: Jonas Lindberg Nyvagn
Brand Marketing Manager: Johanna Juhlin
Agency: Nord DDB
Chief Creative Officer: Andreas Dahlqvist
Account director: Hanna Ternström
Account manager: Linda Lonaeus
Art Director: Clara Uddman
Art Director: Petter Swanberg
Senior Copywriter: Martin Lundgren
Senior designer: Jesper Hellzén
PR director: Susanne Johansson
Planning director: Johan Rynell
Planner: Andrea Dahlbäck
Designer: Tor Westerlund
Social media and content manager: Jonas Eriksson
Production: House Agency
Producer: Matilda Callenbo
Producer: Stefan Wikström
Interactive Producer: Erik Hagström
Director: Matilda Callenbo
Production Manager & Coordinator Christine Norberg
Director of Photography: Natan Gullström
Director of Photography: Olle Lindholm
Post Producer: Tomas Wall
Klipp: Gustav Öström
Online/Grade: Natan Gullström
Set design: Linda Björkman & Johan Ryman
Illustrator: Patrick Saville