By Barry Janoff, Executive Editor
April 13, 2011: Playing with the big boys of sports, it seems, is not enough for Puma. Now, the athletic shoe and sportswear company is seeking to play with the big boys of Hollywood.
Puma, which has been worn by athletes and consumers for almost 90 years, has signed a deal with Los Angeles-based NMA Group to become be the brand's global agency of record for entertainment marketing.
Financial terms of the alliance and Puma's intended budget were not disclosed.
Puma said the NMA Group would "lead all entertainment initiatives within film, television, music, talent and entertainment public relations . . . and work collaboratively with Puma's internal entertainment marketing teams based in Los Angeles and London. NMA Group added that is has been "tasked with globally elevating the Puma brand within the entertainment industry by initiating targeted outreach and brand integration throughout film, television, music and talent relations."
"Film, television, music and celebrity are global mediums that travel the world at a rapid pace," NMA Group president Mark Owens said in a statement. "We are delighted and thrilled to be selected as the global agency of record so that we can offer our core competencies of placement, promotions, entertainment PR and red carpet events on a consistent global basis."
Among the product placement and entertainment tie-ins highlighted on NMA Group's home page include work for Heineken (on Showtime's Californication), Xbox (on NBC's Parks and Recreation), Dunkin' Donuts (on AMC's Mad Men) and Luxottica sunglasses (in The Fighter). Clients also include General Motors, HSN, Reelz Channel and the American Cancer Society.
Puma was founded in 1924 by Adolf and Rudolf Dassler. A falling out between the brothers was the catalyst in Adolf leaving in 1948 to form rival adidas. Among its high-profile endorsers has been Pelé, Joe Namath, Walt Frazier and a current deal with Usain Bolt.
Puma's alliance with NMA Group comes about a month after adidas launched in the U.S. is "All adidas" marketing campaign. The campaign utilizes such sports endorsers as NBA stars Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard and soccer icon David Beckham but seeks to put more focus on the company's entertainment side via Katy Perry and rap musician B.o.B. and its fashion aspects with Stella McCartney and others.
The NMA Group said it would utilize Puma's "many brand assets," including its global retail presence, athlete and designer collaborations, charitable affiliations, ad campaigns and activations and online presence such as Puma.com and social media channels.
"Puma is one of those rare brands that genuinely reinvented its category," Lori Kotarski Nelson, svp at NMA Group, said in a statement. "We look forward to building upon the strong foundation the brand has achieved within entertainment to further engage consumers."
"We look forward to building upon the strong foundation the brand has achieved within entertainment to further engage consumers."
According to Antonio Bertone, CMO for Puma AG, "We've been thoroughly impressed with the track record of NMA Group client successes. As entertainment continues to be an integral part of our marketing mix, it's important to have the right partner in place to help us reach our goals. Like Puma, the NMA Group is a pioneer in their field and we're confident that the team will use their strategic and creative thinking to build upon our strong brand equity."