Puma India wanted to drive awareness and traffic to a local PUMA store and establish a connection with the creative community of Mumbai, so on Independence Day weekend (15 August), using the theme of "Freedom of Expression", Puma wanted to encourage young shoppers to design their own soles for a range of flip-flops.
Designs were entered into the "Sole Fight" competition. Winning designs would then become part of the PUMA 2011 Spring/Summer flip-flop collection, bearing the creator's name.
Puma then expanded the concept from a simple in-store event by taking the brand to the streets and seeking out Puma consumers. The company bought a vintage Ambassador car, painted it white, christened it the "Sole Machine" and drove it to the cafes, streets and colleges where Mumbai's young people were invited to grab a can of spray paint and tag the automobile with colorful graffiti.
Over an eight-day period in early August the Sole Machine traveled to more than 15 venues, updating the brand audience via tweets about the next stop on its tour.
More than 3,000 people painted the car - which had to be repainted white by the fourth day - and thousands of leaflets promoting the Pimp Your Sole contest were distributed. A video crew traveling with the automobile captured young consumers tagging the Ambassador and posing with a pair of giant Puma shoe props. Each day an on-location post-production unit cut ten videos of the activities and posted them on the Puma Facebook page and YouTube every day.
Young Puma fans started tagging themselves on the Facebook pictures and telling their friends about their appearances. Some even made their Puma pictures their profile shots.
During the Sole Machine's travels, it made a stop at the MTV office, home of the network that launched the Pimp Your Ride, vehicle-customization series. The Puma campaign attracted attention from online media as well, with CNNGo.com, GQ and HT Café picking up on the story and profiling the campaign on their India websites.
The two-day in-store Sole Fight competition was open to consumers and professional graffiti artists. More than 18 pros showed up to paint 6x3 ft sole-shaped cutouts; consumers were given smaller six-inch soles for their artwork. Over 150 consumer designs were generated, 34 were shortlisted on the Puma Facebook page and more than 4000 votes were registered. Five winners were chosen, and their designs will be part of Puma's Spring/Summer Flip-Flop Collection next year.
During the course of the campaign, three million impressions were generated. In fact, India became the #1 fan base for Puma worldwide on Facebook with a huge jump in registrations. The campaign rolled out in Bangalore in September.
Puma Sport India's Mehta reports that the campaign objectives "were met with great success. The store visibility has markedly increased as seen from walk-ins as well as sales figures. Jack in the Box's innovative use of online social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube gave a great push to the campaign's voice making it reach the target audience with ease in a language that they understood." The campaign was masterminded by Jack in the Box, the content-for-brands arm of Bang Bang Films.