Helping Nissan Shine at the NCAA Final Four

A 3D rendering of a digital court design for Nissan's NCAA Final Four activation

// Overview

To connect with college-aged auto buyers and utilize existing partnerships, Nissan decided to build an on-site activation at the 2020 Final Four Tournament in ATL.

// Responsibilities

Mike was responsible for the UX and UI design of a digital game that used digital flooring with capacitive touch input. He also was responsible for the design of a qeueing system and post-event marketing.

// Goals

The goal of this activation was to engage, excite, and familiarize a college-aged audience with the Nissan brand and product line-up. The qeueing system was able to capture emails and potential leads.



College basketball players

// Discovery

To appeal to a younger audience, it was important to create an experience that was more than a lame kiosk. The team spent a lot of time exploring how to authentically appeal to the audience and offer events that were more fun than salesy. Side note, this project took around 2 months.

// Strategy

The team decided to recreate a fan cave. The main space would take the form of a detached residential garage. Mike was specifically focused on the outer part of the garage that featured two basketball courts with digital flooring that directed a form of the traditional basketball game of “HORSE”

A college basketball stadium
Blender 3D Software showing how the digital court was built

// Visualization

This game was being built using Unity, a 3D game engine. Knowing that, Mike opted to design this experience with Blender. Using 3D objects opened the door to impressive shader animations triggered by the capacitive touch input. It also made design/dev handoff simple since the 3D file was optimized for Unity with things like PBR Materials.

// Implementation

Since testing a project like this was impossible on a monitor. GMR rented a section of the digital flooring and stored it in a warehouse. This made it easy to test and iterate on the visuals and interactions. Throughout the process, Mike and the development team worked together to balance form and function.

Photo collage of Mike testing out the digital flooring

Outputs + Outcomes + 

Outputs + Outcomes + 

A rendering of the Nissan activation space
The final 3D Nissan court designs
Close up of the 3D designs
Animation snippet of the digital Nissan HORSE gameplay
// Outcomes

Due to Covid, the 2020 NCAA games were cancelled, so this project never saw the light of day. In 2021, the activation did launch, but sadly the digital flooring was cut due to time and budget.

// Team


Sam Kohnke


Dave Mennenoh


Heidi Hoard