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Volume 27 No. 10
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Weekend Plans With Puma Head Of Marketing Comms Ann Unger

Although Puma Head of Marketing Communications ANN UNGER won't be on the ground in Chicago next week for NBA All-Star weekend, her fingerprints are all over the brand's activations and presence at the event. Puma's return to basketball in '18 has pushed the company to tap into the culture surrounding the sport, from music to fashion to gaming, which can be seen in recent collaborations the brand has put forth. Unger recently caught up with THE DAILY as Puma prepares for All-Star weekend, giving the scoop on activations and product launches attendees can expect and how she'll be working around the clock to make sure everything runs smoothly in Chicago.

PUTTING IN THE WORK: We've been planning this All-Star weekend for quite some time. There's a huge team that goes into everything for an activation like this. I'm in a hybrid role between our North America and our global marketing team, so I'm able to be a part of not only some of the strategic planning that's happening in the basketball business unit, but also what is activated on the ground. My role specifically is around how everything gets communicated across all the various consumer touch points. It's really important for us to be aligned with what our goals and objectives are, and then make sure that we're always tying back to our core of sport culture and the culture around basketball, as well as our retail partners. We have a couple of activations with both Champs and Foot Locker and some in-store appearances with our athletes.

Unger helped plan several initiatives to support the local Chicago community during All-Star weekend
Photo: puma
Unger helped plan several initiatives to support the local Chicago community during All-Star weekend
Photo: puma
Unger helped plan several initiatives to support the local Chicago community during All-Star weekend
Photo: puma

MAKING A SPLASH: We're hoping to bring a disruptive spirit to All-Star weekend. We want to show up at the right place and on the right people, and I think we've established our brand to do that. Community sits at the heart of what we do at Puma hoops, so we've planned some great initiatives to support the local Chicago community, from a coat drive to a panel discussion to skills clinics. Also, as part of our partnership with LeagueFits (the Slam-affiliated Instagram account), we're going to have an exclusive gifting lounge that attendees can visit during All-Star weekend. Additionally, we are doing a couple of local collaborations with Fashion Geek. We've worked with Fashion Geek Founder ALONZO JACKSON in the past, and he's a Chicago native and partner of the brand. A Def Jam collection also is set to release during the weekend. In regard to product, we're debuting a new basketball sneaker, which is really exciting. Puma is known for our rich history and our heritage in sport, so we're bringing back the Puma Sky, which was worn on the court in the '80s. We've updated it with our Puma swagger and amazing performance technology, but there are some designs from the '80s that we're trying to keep. The new shoe is called the Sky Dreamer, and Lakers F KYLE KUZMA, a Puma endorser, debuted it this past weekend on the court.

MANNING THE CONTROLS: A lot of our team here and our agency partner will be in Chicago next week, making sure that everything goes off without a hitch. The most important thing is ensuring that, from a communication standpoint, we are telling the right message at the right time and that the shoes we are launching and any other activations that are happening are communicated in a way that the consumer is going to understand. The schedule is going to be packed from Thursday-Sunday with all of our activations and dinners and parties. We're really filling the weekend so that Puma hoops can make a splash with everything that's going on in Chicago on the ground. My responsibilities for All-Star weekend include making sure that interviews with athletes are executed flawlessly, that they're prepped, that media are happy and have all the materials that they need. I'll be ensuring that we are capturing content from a social media standpoint and that our out-of-home activations from a paid media standpoint are executed correctly. A lot of the work leading up to All-Star weekend has been the planning, but then during the actual weekend, it's just making sure everything gets executed to the level that we expect.

Know of someone who should be featured in Weekend Plans? Shoot a note over to lsmith@sportsbusinessdaily.com.