In Turnaround Try, Puma Taps Troublemakers


In the midst of a challenging turnaround attempt, Puma is kicking off the largest marketing campaign in its history, repositioning itself as “the World’s fastest sports brand.”

The German-based company, founded in 1948, is using its lineup of athletes to kick off the “Forever Faster” campaign, including sprinter Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man; men’s soccer star Mario Balotelli; women’s soccer legend Marta; and golfers Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson. In the kickoff spot, called Calling All Troublemakers, the athletes flex their credentials as rebels and rule breakers not on the field, but splashing in a hot tub. They invite viewers to join them for “danger, risk and potential fugitive status,” adding “obedience will be discouraged.”

A spokesperson tells Marketing Daily in an email that the brand campaign brings “the values of determination, confidence, bravery and joy to the world of sport. 'Faster’ is how Puma will challenge the rule breakers and ignite the trendsetters as an unstoppable force in the industry.”

In a release announcing its quarterly earnings last week, the company says the campaign, which begins in North America, Latin and Asia-Pacific, rolling out to Europe, the Middle East and Africa shortly afterwards, is just the beginning of a longer-term branding strategy. There will then be “continuous investment up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in 2016 and beyond.”

The company is still struggling to bounce back from its ill-fated attempt to become a broader lifestyle brand, and has the financial wreckage to prove it. But it hopes the new effort will “communicate the repositioning of Puma as a true sports brand to our consumers and retail partners.” It says it will continue to invest heavily in marketing and product design and innovation, “and the feedback from our retail partners, as well as our initial indications for the first half of 2015, make us very confident that we are heading in the right direction.”

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