Puma Taps Syrup for Teamsport

Puma has selected New York shop Syrup to handle global creative duties on the company’s Teamsport business, which focuses primarily on soccer.

For example, Syrup will create ads around Puma’s outfitting national teams in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and its sponsorship of Women’s Professional Soccer, a new U.S league. Other sports included in the assignment are rugby, handball and cricket.

Syrup joins a roster that includes lead global creative shop Droga5 and global media agency Publicis Groupe’s Zenith Optimedia, both in New York.

Puma’s overall estimated global ad spending tops $100 million annually. In the U.S alone, spending totaled nearly $15 million in 2007 (not including online expenditures_ and $7 million in the first 10 months of 2008, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

LBI International’s Syrup landed the account after a month-long review in which it bested two other agencies that Puma global CMO Antonio Bertone declined to name.

The new agency succeeds independent Robert/Boisen & Like-Minded in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Syrup’s first work, related to the launch of WPS, is expected in the spring.

Puma selected Syrup based in part on its passion for soccer, said Bertone. The shop has its own team, Syrup Boyz, which competes in New York club leagues and tournaments. Bertone first connected with the shop’s principals via a conversation about soccer at the opening of a Tretorn store in Manhattan in July (Tretorn is a Puma brand).

“As our business is growing, as the intensity of the competition of the industry is growing, I needed real soccer freaks,” Bertone said. “They have a great design sense, they have a great philosophy about their shop. I also loved that [most of] the principals were foreign. Foreigners working in America is kind of a nice perspective.”

Agency CEO Rob Holzer is American and both svp of client relations Omino Gardezi and chief creative officer Jakob Daschek are Swedish.

“As real football fanatics, this is a perfect account for us to approach the creative from a different angle and bridge the worlds off design and sports with a unique Puma attitude,” said Daschek. Holzer added that the win is a “brilliant opportunity to help shape the future of one of our favorite brands.”

Syrup’s other clients include General Electric, Dow Fiber Solutions, L’Oréal, Coty fragrances and Viacom.