Tag Archives: event marketing

Running on Water or Just All Wet?


Sports shoe and apparel maker Puma has been making footware since 1924. Olympic champions from Jesse Owens in 1936 to Usain Bolt in 2008 have worn its running shoes while setting world records. Yet in the race for market share, it barely wins the bronze in shoes and finishes without a medal in apparel.

What to do when competing in a crowded category during a worldwide recession? I could have imagined many initiatives from channel development to grass roots social networking to a basketball connection with a prominent amateur (think 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.).

How about joining with a number of mostly money losing companies such as Volvo in a round the world sailing competition. Apparently golf tournaments are not elitist enough. And the image portrayed in much of Puma’s communication is closer to urban street kid.

In each port its racing yacht visits, it will assemble a modular performance space/nightclub/bar with built in gear store called Puma City. Puma City even has its own Facebook page. At a recent reception there, everyone seemed to be having a good time. Yet no one seemed to be patronizing the store.

Puma does make deck shoes and foul weather jackets, but their sales contribute negligibly to overall revenue. The race has eleven ports of call, only one of which is in North America, namely Boston. It’s tough to see how this will develop the market.

The race is being supported by mixed media ranging from subway placards and traditional PR in Boston to a suite of social media including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs. So far, it seems not to have a lot of traction or the internal logic of Puma’s running events and sports clinics.

Is this yet another case of let’s spend the stockholders’ money on what someone in management thinks might be fun or has a suppressed desire to try? Did someone in corporate marketing read Two Years Before The Mast? Anyway, who needs ROI, when you’ve built the meanest looking racing yacht of the bunch?

It’s Back – This Time in 3-D

Superbowl XLIII is charging down upon us. We are the worst recession since this annual rite of advertising with football obbligato began. Large advertisers are writing off assets, closing facilities, firing thousands, and reporting record losses. This has caused panic – and panicking executives are even more likely to do the familiar, including the familiar, which has never been shown to work.

In particular, major advertisers have agreed to pay up to $3 million for 30 seconds of air time during the game. Of course with production, not to mention the expense of senior staff “needing” to attend the game, the total cost can be substantially higher. So we’re starting to talk about real money for a marketing expense, whose value remains to be demonstrated. Rather than worrying about the niceties of ROI, PepsiCo and DreamWorks, will try to make their Superbowl ads more memorable, by presenting them in 3-D.

Those of us old enough to remember an earlier generation of 3-D movies and comic books also remember having to wear cardboard glasses, whose right and left lenses were of different colors. The movies tended to be horror movies and westerns, in which the monster or villain, though thought dead, somehow survived to appear in a sequel.

So much for progress, the funky cardboard glasses are back. No glasses – no 3-D. Pepsi is using its considerable retail distribution to try to get 125 million pairs available to the viewing public by game day glasses. The Wall St. Journal(1/23/09, B8) reports that the glasses alone will cost about $7 million. To PepsiCo’s and DreamWorks’ credit they have gotten Intel to pay this.

What Intel gets for this another remains to be seen, but kudos to the deal makers at Pepsi. This challenge has made the commercials themselves news and DreamWorks is even advertising the commercials. Dreamworks new 3-D feature Monsters and Aliens is a major product push. Thus the game gets prime real estate on its animation site (warning – visiting this link will shift your browser to full screen).

In case you didn’t find the glasses at your local supermarket, you can get some by calling Pepsi at 1-800-646-2904.Curiously, Pepsi does not invite consumers to order online. There was no promotion of the event either during the on-hold recording (background music) or when I spoke to an attendant, who indifferently took my shipping information. The promotion is not featured on Pepsi’s or Intel’s web sites.

What does this have to do with selling SoBe Lifewater or microprocessors? Perhaps this would be clearer seen through a pair of 3-D glasses.