There is a fashion that has emerged among sports apparel brands around the nature of competitiveness. Adidas and Nike have both adopted very muscular language full of motivational soundbites: Impossible is nothing. Just do it. Livestrong, Write the future. This is the language of hard work, sweat, performance and achievement.
Puma recognised that this approach was perfect for sporting and fitness enthusiasts, but that the serious tone of these aphorisms didn't really apply to more casual individuals who just wanted to have fun with their sporting activities.
Puma's target audience was primarily made up of the energetic 18-34 age group - the main demographic of cool hunters and trendsetters. Research showed that this group spent a lot of time meeting with friends, going to gigs and hanging out in their favourite places - otherwise known as being social.
This group combined the party animal with the athlete. But these athletes were not concerned with calorie counting, fitness training and hydration levels. They were the kind of people that turn everything into a game for the fun of it, and this resonated with Puma's philosophy that sport should be fun. Puma wanted to remind these people that they were athletes as well, even if the only sports they played involved holding a beer at the same time.
Celebrating the after-hours athlete
Puma decided to help its focus its activity towards the more social sporting moments of life for a different kind of athlete, otherwise known as the 'after hours athlete. The strategy focused on sports that get played on a night out such as ping pong, foosball , bowling, darts and karaoke . These activities would become known as the Puma social sports.
The idea was brought to life with the launch of the Puma Social Clubs. These were events that took place in the cool parts of town and involved friendly competitions in the Puma social sports. Sometimes improvised sports and games would be included, based on the alcohol consumption and energy levels of the 'athletes' taking part. These more ad-hoc sports ranged from eating pizza with your hands tied behind your back to playing ping pong with over-sized paddles.
To help create an online presence for the Puma social clubs and encourage participants to share their experiences, Puma decided to create a competition that searched for the national team of after-hours athletes. Contestants had to send in a video of them performing a trickshot in any of the listed social sports. Finalists could win prizes like trips to the ultimate Puma social party or a full year of Puma sponsorship that included taxi rides, kebab coupons and Puma gear.
To enhance the Puma Social parties, appropriate media owner partnership were devised in key markets allowing titles like Vice, Basso and Kingsize to create buzz for the events and for pushing out content from the parties.
Some markets saw the use of large outdoor sites in trendy parts of town or the bar districts which had a strong association with after-hours sports. Tactical ambient solutions were put to use in markets with smaller budget and opportunity, as well as partnerships with niche trendsetting titles. Online executions included high impact units that featured the distinctive neon lettering effect associated with night sports and after-hours signage.
Facebook helped driving the engagement aspect through an app that hosted video content from the events. The app served as the main vehicle for the competition allowing contestants to upload their video entries and promote them through sharing functionalities. Users could vote on their favourite videos and the most voted entries were judged by a Puma panel.
The multi-market element of the competition was used to foster and exploit competitive national pride between countries through Facebook posts to see if they could do better than their neighbours and upload better trick shots.
The campaign increased the Puma Facebook fanbase by 23% in 60 days, equating to more than 1,000,000 fans.
Over 1,000 videos uploaded on our app, generating 17 hours of trickshots that have been viewed over 500k times.
More than 40 after hours parties were thrown in 32 countries generating an estimated €1m in PR value through editorial coverage in press and online.
The video content from the parties and the competition has been viewed more than 500K times.
Sales of products in the range increased by more than 30% outperforming all objectives.
Puma Social Club homepage
Puma Social Club / Vice magazine party
Puma Social Club badges on Foursquare
Why is this on Cream? Puma Social club is an excellent example of how brand communities don't need to be tied entirely to Facebook. The best ideas include a seamless offline/online integration.