Jochen Zeitz, PUMA CEO, to address sponsorship in Jamaica, by Larry Eder

Per an article in the Gleaner, a Jamaican newsite/newspaper, long time PUMA CEO, Jochen Zeitz will speak in Kingston, Jamaica next month on the branding of Jamaica and PUMA's investment in the country.

g_puma-karen-fuchs-usain-bolt-jochen-zeitz.jpg Usain Bolt, Jochen Zeitz, courtesy of PUMA

Jochen Zeitz, the man credited with the long term growth of the PUMA brand, has made it quite clear that he has an affection for the country of Jamaica, its culture, its people and its athletes. PUMA has taken that culture and created a branding for the Jamaican team that is both fun and authentic sports. In PUMA's lexicon, they call this sportslifestyle.

Per articles in Financial Times, and Vanity Fair, the Chairman of PPR, Francois-Henri Pinault, sought out Zeitz to run Pinault's line luxury product companies. When that could not be accomplished, PPR sought a controlling involvement in PUMA AG.

PPR Chairman  Pinault then orchestrated the purchase of PUMA AG. Per PUMA site, PPR currently owns 75.12 % of PUMA stock. PUMA is among many brands focused on upper income consumers, such as Gucci & Yves St. Laurent. In a recent reorganization, PUMA is one of the chief properties in the Sports & Lifestyle division, of which Jochen Zeitz leads.  

In signing Usain Bolt, it was PUMA who signed the young athlete, and garnered the publicity when he destroyed the 100 meter, 200 meter and 4 x 100 meter records in Beijing in 2008, and again in Berlin, Germany during the 2009 World Championships, where he again broke the 100m  and 200m.
In 2011, at the World Championships in Daegu, Korea, Usain Bolt false-started in the 100 meters, won the 200 meters and set a new World record with his team mates, running 37.03 for the 4 x 100 meter relay.

Bolt_UsainShoes1_OlyGames08.jpgUsain Bolt, 2008 Beijing Olympics, photo by

Usain Bolt is the biggest draw at major athletic meeting press conferences, and he has added some frivolity to sporting events. The excitement he brings to the sport is genuine, and PUMA recognized his value to their brand, re signing Bolt to a four year deal in 2010, worth a reputed 29 million US over four years. Per PUMA, that is one of the largest, if not, the largest compensation given to a track & field athlete. 

Like all successful brands, PUMA has found its niche. A combination of sports authenticity with the knowledge, that at the end of the day, consumers worldwide want to look good in a brand that they respect. In 2009, PUMA launched an apparel collection around Usain Bolt, which has done well.

Each brand successfully involved in running and track & field has a sports marketing culture and plan. Nike has a collection of global athletes and federations, the largest in the sport. adidas has a group of elite athletes that it calls icons as well as key federations. ASICS has both athletes and federations. Each brand has found a system that they believe, works for them. PUMA's branding with the athlete, Usain Bolt and the country, Jamaica, combines authentic sport and their cultural idiom of sportslifestyle.  

PUMA's Jochin Zeitz has headed the brand for 18 years. RBR first saw Mr. Zeitz speak in 1996, at the old Atlanta Supershow, where he suggested a long term plan to rebuild PUMA, which was in some distress. (Zeitz joined PUMA in 1993).  PUMA's purchase by PPR, a French business that holds many of the most luxurious brands in the world. At PPR, Zeitz title is CEO of Sports & Lifestyle as well as Chairman of PUMA.

Jochen Zeitz will be speaking March 30, at an event produced by Whiskey Productions and supported by the Commercial Bank. The event will be held at the Wyndam Hotel, in Kingston, Jamaica. His topics of conversation with be PUMA and the branding of Jamaica, environmental sustainability, the upcoming Olympics and the Zeitz foundation.

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