Every four years the world stops. Not for the Olympics, or elections, but for an event so momentous that it spans an entire month and is watched by over 700 million people worldwide. In 2010, The FIFA World Cup took place in South Africa, presenting a huge opportunity for the PUMA brand. Celebrating 12 years of involvement with African soccer, PUMA has deep roots with Algeria, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt and Angola, with 13 sponsored African national teams total. For one month, PUMA harnessed the budding excitement for soccer not typically present in U.S. culture by connecting the brand to their talented African teams.
To do this, PUMA took over New York City’s South Street Seaport for a month-long soccer extravaganza that would immerse the public in play, gear and the tournament for an unforgettable soccer experience — re-directing the media spotlight from their industry competitors. An integral part of this effort was PUMA City NY, an immersive pop-up soccer experience based at Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. PUMA City NY consisted of viewing stations, a nightlife venue, gaming area (for foosball and ping pong) a mini-pitch, artist stations, gear test-it areas and retail components. By the conclusion of the PUMA City NY activation on the day of the World Cup final, 258 positive PUMA US placements regarding the brand, product and PUMA City NY, had been secured, ranging from local city coverage to a June feature on MensHealth.com, rating PUMA soccer gear as #1 for fans over that of competitors.
The PUMA North America marketing team developed a cohesive integrated marketing campaign to bring the game of soccer to fans and non-fans alike, sharing their joy of the game with local NY’ers and the international community. Even though a local event, PUMA was able to garner nationwide and international attention of their local activation. Harnessing the expertise of all their marketing agencies including media, PR and event partners, PUMA’s internal team and external agencies brought soccer to life in the Seaport. All the marketing tactics were driven by the same goals and working towards the same results, thus resulting in a strong, positive and impactful consumer brand experience.
The PR strategy and tactical plan, driven by PUMA’s internal PR team and agency, MSL, supported the overall PUMA marketing plan.
At a time when economic hardships presented obstacles for travel to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, PUMA understood the value in building an alternative location for both media and consumers to enjoy the tournament. The brand identified Manhattan’s South Street Seaport as the ideal location for a pop-up brand experience, complete with viewing stations, a nightlife venue, gaming area, artist stations, a mini-pitch, gear test-it areas and a retail component. The entire design served to connect consumers with the sport, as well as presented an easy backdrop for media coverage for outlets who wanted to inject World Cup spirit into their broadcasts and stories without the expense of sending reporters to another continent.
The PR Strategy included:
1. Leverage PUMA-sponsored African players to provide unique insight and perspective to target media.
2. Present PUMA City NY as both a media angle and home-base to press from June through July to generate consistent coverage of the pop-up’s offerings and elevate the brand’s connection to the World Cup.
3. Leverage the viewing stations at PUMA City NY with the media that were created as a social experience for fans
4. Elevate media-worthy events created by the PUMA Marketing team within PUMA City NY (i.e. Human Foosball, Suits & Boots, PUMA Red Bar Viewing Stations) that would appeal to the target and make in-roads with the PUMA audience in national coverage.
• Cultivated strong relationships with broadcast assignment and photography desks at top press outlets to leverage athletes and PUMA City NY locations from a 360 editorial perspective.
• Continually refreshed press materials and alerts with the latest in tournament standings, news, matches and player performance updates to become a World Cup resource for media and position PUMA City NY as the ultimate source of everything soccer.
• Positioned PUMA City NY as a destination for tournament, and backdrop for media access throughout the month for on-site, daylong broadcasts that would effectively communicate the fun, high-energy atmosphere to fans and entice attendance for the space.
Summary of Results
• Secured 258 positive PUMA/World Cup stories, ranging from local city coverage to a June feature on MensHealth.com (online? If so, let’s be clear), rating PUMA soccer gear as #1 for fans over that of competitors
• Placed PUMA Africa player Samuel Eto’o on the cover of ESPN Magazine to solidify the brand’s larger-than-life presence in the World Cup. The cover featured Eto’o wearing PUMA’s Africa Unity Kit, which was on display at PUMA City NY.
• Secured broadcast segments with CNBC, CNN (National and International), GoodDayNY, FOX News and NBC mobile, and print coverage with NYTimes.com, Men’s Fitness (online), NY Daily News, NY Magazine, among others, positioning PUMA City NY as THE place for the public to enjoy the tournament.