Struggling Puma Rethinks Global PR Duties
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Struggling Puma Rethinks Global PR Duties

Puma is reviewing the six-figure global consumer PR brief that it awarded to Interpublic Group agencies two years ago.

Arun Sudhaman

HERZOGENAURACH, GERMANY—Puma is reviewing global consumer PR duties as it attempts to restore growth at the struggling brand by focusing on its sporting roots.

The Holmes Report understands that the German sportswear giant has contacted agencies regarding the high six-figure assignment, which was awarded to Interpublic Group agencies two years ago.

The rethink follows the arrival of new CEO Bjoern Gulden last year. Gulden, who is charged with turning around the business, has indicated that he wants the company to dispense with its fashion and lifestyle positioning.

Instead, Puma is expected to return to is football and athletics roots, focusing on star endorsers Usain Bolt and Mario Balotelli. A new 'Forever Faster' global campaign will launch later this year, as part of an attempt to reposition as a 'performance sports brand'.

Puma's global sales of $4bn are well behind Nike ($25bn) and Adidas ($20bn). The company reported a discouraging sales slump in 2013, thanks in part to flagging footwear sales. 

A source familiar with the situation told the Holmes Report that Puma intends to continue ramping up awareness of its various sports activities, including its new £30m kit deal with Arsenal FC. The company is also behind several World Cup 2014 kits, including Italy, Uruguay, Cameroon and Chile.

Last year, meanwhile, Usain Bolt renewed his endorsement deal until after the 2016 Rio Olympics, for an estimated $10m per year. Bolt has been with Puma for a decade, and is viewed as a key element in the company's battle to keep pace with Adidas, Nike and other running brands.  

The PR rethink comes after Puma conducted a global creative review in 2013, which saw the business move from Droga5 to JWT.  A Puma spokesperson declined to comment.

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