UNIQLO is a household name in Japan. But in early 2012, the brand was still relatively unknown in the US. In October they planned to open their first west coast location in San Francisco. Our challenge was to introduce the brand -- and their quirky Japanese attitude -- to San Francisco for the first time.


We decided to bring along a Japanese ambassador to help introduce us. One that a weird, tech-forward city like SF would truly appreciate. Enter Maru, the internet's most famous cat. His famously adorable box videos have made him a viral internet superstar. Together we created an interactive game called Lucky Cube with Maru, combining Maru's love of boxes with UNIQLO's "made for all" attitude.


Simply login with Facebook and four "Lucky Cubes” would appear. Each cube contained a UNIQLO prize. Some players won UNIQLO clothing that you could pick up right away at the new store by showing your confirmation email, others received downloadable "mystery prizes" from SF tastemakers: including Mp3's from local bands, and recipes from local celebrity chefs. A very lucky few even scored a ride in the UNIQLO blimp! Maru gave every single player a UNIQLO gift worth bragging about.


The game went viral. There were write-ups everywhere from TIME Magazine to Tumblr. Over one quarter million people tuned to watch the trailer on YouTube -- a new UNIQLO record. It was all the rage on Twitter, inside and outside of SF. Most importantly, on launch day SF welcomed us with open arms (and lines around the block), showing everyone that a famous feline, a magic cube, and a great idea, can transform a store opening into a cultural event.