Puma Uses Ash Wednesday "Stunt" To Reveal Italy World Cup Jersey On City Streets
Puma this week offered up a "marketing stunt" on Ash Wednesday that "placed shrine-like displays on city streets" in N.Y., Boston, L.A. and Chicago to introduce its new Italy jersey for the FIFA World Cup, according to Grace Chung of AD AGE. The prop was part of the brand's "#StartBelieving" campaign. Fans "reveled in the promotional display, jokingly kneeling before the jersey and uploading photos to social media." Puma said that it "didn't mean to play on any religious observances." A Puma spokesperson said, "This was unrelated to Ash Wednesday and was not a religious event. The date was chosen because March 5th was the first day the kits were being worn in play by the Italia National Team." While some fans "may have enjoyed Puma's Italy-themed 'altar,' it's easy to imagine the idea not sitting well with other consumers." Event marketing agency Factory 360 CEO Michael Fernandez said that Puma was "trying to be provocative with its marketing strategy but showed poor taste" (ADAGE.com, 3/6).
BOOT CAMP: Nike on Thursday unveiled its new scocer cleat, and Nike CEO Mark Parker was asked by CNBC's Sara Eisen what the market really is "when it comes to these soccer shoes." Parker, referring to soccer as football, said, "The cleated football market is actually quite significant. Football is the largest, most popular sport in the world. So what we see with football is a market that is highly energized, excited to see new innovation coming. That's just what we've got here, just in time for the World Cup." Eisen noted the "reason the World Cup is so important is because 3.2 billion people tuned in last year." Eisen: "It puts the Super Bowl to shame. It's reaching consumers in basically every single corner of the world. That's why, obviously, it's such a big deal for Nike" ("Fast Money," CNBC, 3/6).