Puma to launch largest campaign with swagger of Bolt

BY STEVEN JACKSON Business reporter

Sunday, March 09, 2014    

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GLOBAL sports brand Puma will launch its largest campaign in a decade dubbed 'Forever Faster' which will embody the swagger of Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt.

The campaign will take off in Autumn 2014 and is aimed at positioning Puma as the fastest sports brand in the world.

"The phrase simultaneously references the emotional benefit of owning speed — the thrill, the fun, and the swagger of Usain Bolt himself, the man who best personifies this new strategy and ambition," accoridng to Puma chairman Jean Francois Palus in the just-released 2013 annual report.

Puma needs the campaign — its sales are flat at (euro) 2.98 billion and it recorded a (euro)5.3-million profit or 92 per cent decline in year on year. The slash was due to special items relating

to a(euro) 129-million impairment based on reduced goodwill from expected earnings in individual markets; and also the closure of a Product Development Centre in Vietnam.

"In 2014, Puma will reposition itself to become a true Sports Brand and give credible proof that it is indeed Forever Faster," Palus added in the statement accompanying the financials. "Puma is excited to launch its new brand statement 'Forever Faster' through a global media campaign in the Autumn/Winter season 2014 - the company's biggest media campaign in the last decade. This re-ignition of the brand heat was kicked off by extending the partnership with the fastest athlete on the planet, Usain Bolt, and was further fuelled by signing one of the world's top football clubs, Arsenal FC, and Italian superstar Mario Balotelli."

The global brand based in Germany also expressed pleasure at renewing Bolt's sponsorship based on his performance on the track in 2013.

Puma indicated that its "brand ambassador" Usain Bolt once again "stole the show" in beating his opponents at the World Athletics Championships in Moscow, allowing him to become one of the most successful athletes of all time.

In the 2013 financial year, Puma adjusted downward its sales forecasts as a result of the business developments and the continued uncertain economic environment in certain key markets. Puma, however, has a positive outlook for 2014 based on the economic rebound in key markets, financials indicated.

"It is in the nature of our industry that strategic changes take time until they materialise. But the re-signing of Usain Bolt, the signings of Arsenal FC and Mario Balotelli, as well as successful launches of innovative products such as the evoPOWER, the world's most powerful soccer boot, make us believe that PUMA is heading in the right direction to become the fastest sports brand in the World."

Last September, Puma re-signed Bolt the six-time Olympic sprint gold medallist. The contract will last until the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Details of Bolt's contract remained undisclosed. Last year, US-based Forbes magazine alleged that Bolt's previous Puma contract signed in 2010 earned him US$9 million annually.





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