Usain Bolt kisses his Puma shoes after clinching one of his gold medals at the Beijing Olympics
GERMANY. Puma sponsored some of the world’s most exciting and talented athletes in Beijing last summer, but it was Usain Bolt and his amazing performance at the Olympics that set the German sports lifestyle company alight.
The Jamaican athlete’s performance in the 100m and 200m earned him the title of The World’s Fastest Man as he set world records in both events.
To honour Usain Bolt’s achievement even before the Olympics began – the athlete had already set a world record earlier in the year – Puma produced a limited-edition Olympic Collection which was sold in Puma stores from July to October 2008.
“Usain Bolt significantly increased Puma’s brand awareness, particularly in our segment of ‘Running’ and added credibility and authenticity to our competence as a sports performance brand,” Puma Global Travel Retail Manager Thomas Henningsen told The Moodie Report. “Usain Bolt’s performance is an example of the values which we embrace at Puma: be a leader, have passion, have commitment, keep pushing and have fun!”
Henningsen continued: “The best-selling categories in our airport stores are T-shirts, polos, sweatshirts, knitwear, leather jackets, footwear and bags. The theme which brings together these product groups is ‘sportlifestyle’. We combine sports, fashion and lifestyle in a unique way.”
Puma Runway Collection celebrates Beijing Olympics
The Beijing Olympics set the stage for the Puma Runway Collection, introduced for Autumn 2008, where performance is designed to meet fashion, blending sport and style. Puma’s new collection is inspired by the spirit of the Games and by the athletes. Some of Puma’s world-class competitors wear lifestyle pieces designed with a sporting edge, both on and off the field.
Available at selected Puma retailers, including travel retail stores, the Autumn 2008 collection continues the runway theme from Spring with key styles featuring the signature eight-lane Puma Runway graphic, referring to the eight lanes of the stadium track. This graphic can be seen in many combinations across all product categories.
Highlights from the Autumn/Winter 2008 Puma Runway Collection include:
Cell Meio L shoe: The Cell Meio L is aimed at the serious yet fashionable runner and boasts the new inverse DuoCell technology, which creates a ride specific to each runner’s footstrike. Other details include a runway track tongue logo and the Puma Runway badge.
Runway Sports Workout Bag: This multi-purpose bag has a slouchy, feminine shape and is designed for women to take anywhere, from day into evening. Features include interior elasticised slip pocket and plastic bottom studs.
LS Shoulder Bag: The bag has an unusual shape, combined with shiny gold detailing, to create an individual look. This model features gold, eight-lane Olympic graphic and gold metal hardware and zip pulls, and has thick, adjustable and detachable carry handles with gold metal hardware.
Uni-Grip Bag: Designed to match the shiny Cell Meio Metallic Croc sneakers, the multi-purpose, padded Uni-Grip Bag has antique gold metal ring pulls on the main and interior pockets, while the bag’s glossy exterior is offset by the fabric carry handles. The adjustable and detachable fabric shoulder straps feature antique gold metal hardware.
Podium Suit Jacket: Sporting the signature eight-lane Puma Runway graphic, the jacket is targeted at avid runners and features a mesh lining with gold satin piping details in addition to gold medal pin badge and storm cuffs.
T-shirt: This fluorescent yellow shirt has a double-layer mesh-back panel, laser venting and underarm mesh inserts.
Ceremony Dress: The Ceremony Dress features the Runway eight-lane graphic across the front of the dress, which is designed to add fun to the collection.
Advertising visuals for Puma’s Olympic collection; the multi-purpose, padded Uni-Grip Bag (pictured above right) has a glossy exterior offset by the fabric carry handles, along with antique gold metal ring pulls on the pockets
PUMA ATHLETE STORY CELL MEIO LIMITED-EDITION FOOTWEAR
In another limited-edition collection based on the Beijing Olympics, some of Puma’s top track and field athletes, including Usain Bolt, took the Cell Meio, the company’s premier shoe, and used it as a template to record stories “of Olympic proportions”, the company said. Each Cell Meio in this exclusive range features Olympic-themed inscriptions by some of the world’s elite athletes.
The Athlete Story Cell Meios were available in limited numbers at selected Puma retailers from August 2008.
Along with Usain Bolt, athletes penning messages on the limited-edition Cell Meio shoe included Mariem Alaoui Selsouli, a Moroccan born middle- and long-distance runner; Fabiano Joseph Naasi, a Tanzanian long-distance runner; and Boniface Kiprop, a Ugandan who ran the 5000m and 10,000m.
All athletes involved wrote in their native languages. Usain Bolt’s message ran: “The Olympics is the ultimate sporting event and my dream is to win an Olympic gold medal. After surprising myself in 2002 by winning the 200m at the World Junior Championships I have always strived to do my very best in competition. Beijing will be very special as I aim to be the next Jamaican since Donald Quarrie in 1976 to take home the Olympic gold medal. Respect.”
Each shoe is named after the athlete who penned the words on the upper part of the shoe and incorporates the flag and colourway from the country they competed for. These limited-edition Cell Meio shoes boast DuoCell technology, which creates a ride specific to each runner’s footstrike. Other details include a runway track tongue logo and the Puma Runway badge.
PUMA MEDALLION BAG
In a further merchandise initiative, Puma teamed up with Central Saint Martins to create a Beijing Olympics-inspired Medallion Bag through a competition at the famous UK fashion college.
The Beijing-inspired design competition challenged the students to produce a luxury accessory to hold Puma’s new sprint-inspired shoe – the Usan, which forms part of Puma’s 2008 Runway campaign.
The winning Medallion Bag design is described as an innovative foldaway bag. Available in gold, silver and bronze, the bag was designed by student George Omerod and introduced in-store from August 2008.
George Omerod’s Medallion Bag was awarded first place, followed by two runners-up. All three bags were sold at the Puma Concept stores with a significant percentage of the proceeds going to Central Saint Martins bursary fund, according to Puma.
Puma produces Fairtrade football
In separate product news unrelated to the Olympics, Puma has for the first time produced footballs under Fairtrade conditions in order to endorse a campaign focusing on the prevention of juvenile delinquency in South Africa, the German fashion company announced last month.
In co-operation with the Bavarian government and the Internationales Katholisches Missionswerk, Puma provided 5,000 footballs, bearing the Fairtrade certification mark, for the initiative “Club der guten Hoffnung” (Club of Good Hope) to be used in football games at Bavarian and South African schools.
Puma’s long-term football supplier Ali Trading in Pakistan was monitored for compliance to Fairtrade standards and was certified by an independent certification organisation.
The independent fair trade certification mark guarantees that the Puma manufacturer in Pakistan receives a premium of 10% of the ball’s purchasing price, which the firm has to invest into social, economic or ecological development projects on the premises.
The Puma football was publicly launched on 17 November 2008 at the Bavarian Ministry of Education in Munich in the presence of many charitable organisations.
Ready for action: Puma’s sponsorship of Usain Bolt is having a profound effect on sales performance
MORE STORIES ON PUMA