Gyro Pumps Up Puma

$70 Mil. Effort in ‘Ruthless Pursuit of Fun’
NEW YORK–Puma is breaking a $70 million global marketing campaign via Gyro that bucks the category’s recent trend of downplaying pro athletes to hawk sporting goods.
Four image spots, which began airing last week, feature basketball player Vince Carter, tennis star Serena Williams, boxer Oscar de la Hoya and skateboarder Kien Lieu, as well as the metal/hip-hop band Korn. The ads look like videos set to Korn’s music. The push unveils Puma’s first new tagline in years: “The ruthless pursuit of fun.”
Competitors, including market leaders Nike, Reebok and Adidas, have shied away recently from employing high-profile athletes.
“What we found is that young athletes can’t relate to an unobtainable athlete like Michael Jordan,” said Steven Grasse, chief executive of the Philadephia shop. “But as an 18-year-old, I can relate a lot more to Serena Williams.”
Grasse said the agency looked at Wieden & Kennedy’s 1987 “Revolution” spot for Nike, which helped that brand become an international icon, in developing Puma’s first anthem campaign. The spots, which broke last week, are airing on MTV and Fox.
Puma is trying to accomplish two goals: to get U.S. consumers to see Puma as more than a lifestyle brand and to convince consumers in Europe and Asia that it offers more than a soccer shoe. The company lags well behind its rivals in market share.
“Frankly, as a brand, we need to be acceptable to a broader audience,” said Amber Fredman, who heads the client’s U.S. marketing. She noted that Puma devotees wear their shoes on the street, but “when they go to the gym, they put on something else.”
Another round of TV spots, this time with a soccer focus, is being prepared for the fall. The campaign will be backed by $10-15 million in the U.S. and $40 million in Japan and Europe. The remainder will go below the line across all markets.

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