Puma Combines Modern, Retro Technologies to Entice Customers

A rotary-style phone wasn’t the device that led to the unraveling of the David Petraeus ‘Spyfall’ affair, but talking the old-fashioned way certainly would have been a wiser choice than communicating by email.

The retro bright red phone shown here isn’t intended for illicit correspondence–it’s a platform designed by Puma to entertain and inform the brand’s customers at select retail locations worldwide.

Adam Petrick, Puma’s senior global head of brand management, explained how Puma sought to “make our stores more like our brand” during a presentation at the ANA Mobile Marketing conference on Wednesday in New York.

According to Petrick, Puma is an “irreverent challenger brand that makes high performance sports products” and retains underdog status when competing with giants like Nike and Adidas. Still, the company’s association with Olympic gold medal-winning Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt has certainly aided its marketing efforts.

In order to gain traction in the retail realm, Petrick and Puma tried to “instill a sense of fun in our use of technology”. Here’s a sample of the company’s in-store gadgets and their attention-getting names:

Unsmart’ phones: According to Petrick, the classic red rotary phones like the one pictured above are simply there to “make customers smile”. When visitors pick up the receivers, they hear short audio clips on various topics (not clandestine messages or instructions to report to secret locations).

Joypads:  These are literally walls of iPads that let customers interact and play with the brand. One version is a game called Copy Cat in which players compete with their friends by memorizing images and sounds. This may not be such an easy concept to copy: Petrick noted that they’re expensive and take up valuable wall space.

Peep show: Despite the sexually suggestive name, customers see only wholesome brand-related images when they open the doors of these small red medicine cabinet-style boxes located in their dressing rooms. The purpose of these “peep shows” is to encourage customers to share the visuals with friends on social media.

Puma factory: This tablet-style device provides in-depth brand information and specifications regarding customized Puma sneaker designs for the brand’s hardcore fans.

Other tech-related initiatives are surprisingly simple: For example, Puma established a large Instagram following by posting photos of Puma sneakers worn by Petrick and his colleagues in the company office. The next phase of the company’s tech rollout will involve tools imbedded directly into its product designs.