Puma looks to bolster football credentials

Puma is taking on Nike and Adidas for dominance in the lucrative European football market with a major marketing push to bolster sales of its football products.

Manchester City player Sergio Aguero will star in a series of promotions to boost Puma’s football credentials across Europe.

Brand ambassadors Manchester City stars Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure as well as Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas will front a series of campaigns in the UK next year focusing on the product innovation behind the brand’s football boot range.

Puma will also introduce a range of other football brand ambassadors and sponsored teams as the strategy progresses to build awareness for its Puma Football division and its products.

Additionally, the brand will run adverts in specialised print titles alongside regular promotions across all its social media profiles in partnership with brand consultancy Clifford French. Puma launched its ‘What’s In Your nature’ Facebook app earlier this month (5 December) for users to access exclusive content from its roster of football ambassadors. Throughout the campaign users can join virtual training sessions with the players and win personalised prize packages.

The move marks a stronger bid to showcase its football credentials in Europe from Puma, which has focused its marketing strategy across the region around building a portfolio of sports and lifestyle brands following French luxury goods group PPR acquiring a controlling stake in 2007.

The brand has been slowly trying to build its football portfolio over the last 18 months and has made significant inroads into the football sponsorship market during this period, agreeing several high-profile deals including tie-ups with Athletico Madrid striker Ramadel Falcao, former Arsenal star Thierry Henry and Bundelisga champions Borussia Dortmund.

With the deals now in place, it is hoped the brand will be able to make up lost ground on rivals Adidas and Nike, while warding off the advances from US sports brands Warrior Sports and Under Armour. Both brands have already sown the seeds of their football strategies this year and are pursuing sponsorship investments to steal market share from their more established competitors.

It is hoped the football push will replicate the success of its marketing activity in Africa where the business sponsors 10 African teams as well as Cameroon and former Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto’o. The business predicts that revenue on the continent, with almost 1bn inhabitants, will continue to grow faster than its other markets.

Puma will be looking to boost sales through the football push after a sustained period of underperformance in its main western markets. Net income tumble by 85.1 per cent to €12.2m (£9.8m) for the three months to 30 September.

Last year, it took the first steps to restructuring the business to try and boost earnings, rationalising its retail portfolio and reorganising its global operations. The company is also planning to downsize its product range by 30 per cent before the end of 2015 to allow for a greater focus on product innovation and marketing.

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