Tag Archives: puma

Foresight goes along way: is Puma positioned to win at South Africa 2010?

12 Jun

This summers World Cup is perilously close. The big sporting goods manufacturers have unveiled their strategies for the competition and last minute injuries are hampering on pitch preparation on a daily basis. Team shirts have been launched; some made out of recycled plastic bottles others made the conventional way. Player, team and brand led campaigns are under way, some making more noise than the others. Nike has again focused their strategy around the individual with a mind blowing ‘write the future’ ad, which is seemingly everywhere. It’s very much focused on how one man can become hero one minute, villain the next. Adidas being adidas prefer to focus on the value of the team, queue ‘every team needs a spark’ and the history of the shirt to understand where they are coming from. Throw in for good measure a reminder that football is not just about performance and seeps into other areas of popular culture and we see Daft Punk and Noel Gallagher hanging out with David Beckham and various other international travelers in the Star Wars bar.

The above-mentioned brands are the obvious candidates for major activity around SA2010, adidas being official sponsors and Nike being the omnipresent competitor. What though of Puma? They laid their cards out for this tournament a long time ago (almost 10 years previous), in fact many where questioning the logic behind such a decision. The tournament in South Africa is seen as the defining moment in what they have intended all along. Puma’s alignment with Africa has long been questioned, almost primarily and naively for its focus too much on a single continent, a continent that has always flattered to deceive. Certainly the rationale behind this decision was not to sell replica shirts in Africa; instead it was a much deeper long-term approach to building a clear positioning for Puma and Puma football. What they have done is very smart; quietly and confidently planting the foundations of a strategy which is only now becoming obvious to the outside world.

Approaching the tournament they are ideally placed to steal the prize, not by ambushing the marketing side (appearing as if they are an official sponsor) even though they will, but by being much smarter than that. The whole brand has been adapted and created to feel like it comes from Africa, the communications, the promotional campaigns, the product and the values and energy that it takes from the continent. It has smartly aligned the continents love and passion for football and built a football offer around this, framing it with the simple message ‘love = football’.  The smartest thing they have done leading upto the last few months is to actually change their brand mark, replacing the iconic Puma stripe with a cut out of the African continent. This is smart, consumers and web 2.0 brands are used to this but for a more traditional brand to change a sacred mark is something else – imagine Apple taking away the apple or Coca-Cola the ribbons.

(the Puma identity with Africa cut-out, plus the love = football idea)

Without using dirty tactics, they are in a position where they could be perceived as ‘the’ sporting brand of the South African world cup. Additionally not being officially aligned with an organisation like FIFA means the brand can stay flexible and cool enough to do things radically different. Synonymous with what is going on in Africa, in tune with customers and timed to perfection. As the intrigue builds in African football; with the run-up to this tournament and the performance of its players in major European leagues, so to does Pumas strength and stock rise in the football category. Could it be finally time for others to step aside and let Puma take the top prize?


Graphic to explain the Nike v adidas v Puma story

6 Jun

Great graphic piece here. Explains the story of the worlds 3 sporting brand powerhouses.

(right click to save)

Found at Meet the Boss


Is this the future of the sneaker/trainer box?

14 Apr

Let’s face it they have to come in something. I quite like my trainer boxes and the stuff that is contained inside, but I also know that the current distribution model is not sustainable and something has to change.

Puma and Yves Béhar have spent almost 3 years developing their version of what this might be. The result is the ‘Clever Little Bag’. Isn’t it nice?

As a customer you get a nice keep sake if you so desire with the red tote bag, but more importantly everything is recyclable and the reduction in cardboard is 65% less than standard boxes.

Would’nt it be nice if all sports brands used this form. Somewhat like if all the mobile handset manufacturers got together 10 years ago and decided on a universal form of charger, we wouldnt have the millions and billions of useless chargers getting dumped on landfill sites the world over. Somehow though, I can’t see Puma wanting to share this with their rivals, and who would blame them.

Thanks to Fastcompany for the details:


Puma mobile, a lifestyle brand that can make a phone?

17 Feb

Fresh from the Barcelona Mobile World conference is the Puma announcement that they are to launch  a branded mobile phone in association with French manufacturer, Sagem. Now unlike other brands who have tried and failed with this, think Armani and Prada, this bad boy could fall into the ‘not bad’ section of techy phone review sites the world over. Those aforementioned giants of the fashion world decided to rely too much on style over function (a no no in todays mobile savy world), clean lines and fancy finishes; simply it was aesthetics and little else mattered.

What Puma have achieved is actually quite nice. First thing that I notice is how playful the user interface looked (a strong part of the Puma brand). Visually there are many strong ques, from the use of Puma red to navigation via the playful icons which Puma now seems intent on utilising across its whole comms and product range. The phone has also been built from the inside out, integrating sport functionality and connecting it to elements of the Puma brand family. The continuing effort of the company to support green causes and make products which are more environmentally conscious have been captured through the handy inclusion of a solar power panel on the back. The phone even tells you how much music the sunshine has powered.

Click here for images from CNet: http://reviews.cnet.com/2300-13970_7-10002495-4.html?s=0&o=10002495&tag=mncol;page

Here is what the CEO had to say

“Just as PUMA is unlike any other sportlifestyle company out there, the PUMA PHONE is unlike any mobile phone on the market,” said Jochen Zeitz, CEO of PUMA.  “We want to engage with our community in a way that is consistent with everything PUMA stands for. Blending together the influences of sport, lifestyle and fashion, the PUMA PHONE reflects the joy, spontaneity and individuality that the PUMA brand is known for.”

Well, I like it. As a branded phone I’m always skeptical. I love the Nike+ attachment to ipod but was less enthusiastic about adidas’ efforts with Samsung. I since think MiCoach as a piece of technology may help adidas claw back something from Nike, but in general sports brands and tech firms don’t play nicely. This though could be the exception to that rule.

Is ‘Uncertainty’ holding back African football?

2 Feb

One thing that can’t be disputed is that African football is visually a very exciting footballing feast, both on the terraces and on the field of play. Unfortunately, what seems to follow African football at every turn stops it becoming the force that it could well become. An unnerving element of ‘uncertainty’ flows through African football and this level of uncertainty is not just limited to the performance of its players on the field but also the events off it. We don’t need a more compelling example than the unfortunate events involving the Toga team bus in Angola at the start of the ACN (African Cup of Nations) or the erratic quality of the goalkeeping on the field!

But what will it do to damage the perceptions of African football and its hosting of this summers World Cup? Well you could say that African football was in the midst of an upwards turn. Pele famously predicted by the turn of the millennium that an African nation would be champions of the world – that hasn’t happened yet but every major league is now littered with top African talent and now the biggest sporting event in the world is coming to town.

Also Puma have recognised the power of Africa, the energy, colour and passion that goes with the football and aligned its football brand against the whole continent. Many positives exist in the region and associations are extremely powerful, yet people still ask questions and there are some underlying uncertainties which so far have held back SA2010 from having the buzz and excitement at this stage which previous tournaments enjoyed.

The events that occurred in Angola; the incident with the team bus and the subsequent banning of Togo from the next 2 tournaments has increased this feeling. Lingering questions remain and feel unanswered; the safety and security, the logistics and organisation of the tournament, the reaction of the communities to incoming spectators are all elements that add to the list of unknowns. Hopefully the World Cup will be the start of a prosperous and exciting period that firmly puts these questions to bed. The pressure is most certainly on for SA2010, I hope they can handle it, and finally show to the world that there is nothing to be uncertain about anymore.

The fight for the emerging world

30 Dec

Adidas v Nike at Beijing 2008.

Rights for the kit manufacturer of Soccer nations South Korea, China, South Africa, The African Nations and Cricket nations India and Pakistan

These are all keenly fought battles that we have seen or are seeing sports wear brands embark on, and can expect to intensify further in the years ahead.

Sporting brands are seeing rich territory opening up all the time especially in the emerging world. Whether it is whole countries, individual sports that garner passion in that territory, a star athlete, or other initiatives, these factors are all working together to build meaningful interactions that help win the hearts and minds of consumers in these countries.

The next few years is going to be a real battle ground as these countries become more sophisticated and consumers demand brands that their western counterparts readily accept. Brands want first mover advantage and if sponsoring the number one sport in that country helps then they will fight tooth and nail to put one over the competition.

Look out for a few up and coming pieces on this, including the battle for Beijing and one or two kit deals.