Puma Promotion, PR Push Its Sporty Side

Arnold units tackle shoemaker’s bid for athletes over fashionistas

Puma, known for its colorful, retro-chic sneakers, is embarking on a summer-long “Road Trip” promotion from Arnold Brand Promotions that instructs runners on which Puma shoe is most appropriate for them.

The Arnold division kicks off the mobile marketing effort this week at the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. The promotion features a Hummer H2 pulling a trailer that carries a treadmill and a video screen to test runners.

Separately, Arnold’s Magnet Communications will handle public relations for the promotion and for athletes who endorse Puma, such as the recently signed Johnny Damon of the Boston Red Sox, said John Isaf, Magnet senior vice president and general manager.

Both efforts target athletes. “Our lifestyle business is growing so fast, we wanted to make sure we focused on the performance-sport aspect of the business,” said Barney Waters, director of marketing at the Westford, Mass., client.

Promotions and PR had been handled in-house. The Havas shop’s units won the duties in March following a review. Gyro in Philadelphia handles global advertising for the brand.

Puma spent $4 million on ads in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Puma ranked as the sixth-largest athletic-shoe marketer globally in 2001, behind Nike, Adidas, Reebok, New Balance and Asics, according to Sporting Goods Intelligence.