Puma has a long-standing history in motorsports, so it’s fitting that the brand is pulling out all stops to ensure it wins over Formula 1 fans in the U.S.
For starters, the German athletic powerhouse announced last month that it had entered into a long-term creative partnership with style-savvy rap star A$AP Rocky. The rapper has assumed the role of creative director for Puma’s F1 partnership.
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And in May, Puma announced it had entered into a deal with F1 for the 2024 season and beyond that makes the brand the supplier at Formula 1 races. This includes the rights to produce F1 branded apparel, footwear and accessories, and Puma will both equip F1 sports officials on track and create fanwear consisting of lifestyle and motorsport collections.
And this month, Puma teamed up with famed artist Joshua Vides and Scuderia Ferrari on a collection ahead of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, which is slated to take place Nov. 19 at 1 a.m. ET (10 p.m. PT on Nov. 18 for locals).
The events leading up to the race have been marred by track issues, including a lose drain cover forcing the opening practice session on Thursday to end early, as well as scrutiny over the price of tickets and traffic issues caused by the construction of the track. Puma, however, has generated excitement, most notably with the splashy arrival of Rihanna at the event on Friday.
Below, Allison Giorgio, VP of marketing at Puma, revealed to FN how it’s approaching motorsports looking ahead and the opportunity the Las Vegas race presents the brand.
What advantages does Puma have in the ultracompetitive athletic marketplace as Formula 1’s popularity in the U.S. continues to rise?
“Motorsport has been one of the most important categories in Puma’s history. We have a legacy of developing technical apparel that meets the highest FIA [Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile] standards and has been worn by the world’s greatest F1 teams. It’s been exciting to be a part of its evolution and growth globally over the years and get the chance to continue driving innovation forward.”
How has this rise in popularity impacted Puma?
“It’s exciting to see the increase in popularity and interest in the sport, especially here in the U.S. This gives us the chance to constantly evaluate our opportunities in motorsport and further tell our brand stories through Formula 1 partnerships. The partnership also provides Puma with the opportunity to augment its established dominance in the sport by appealing to a broader fan base, tap into more diverse consumer groups, and bring the inspiration of on-track gear to off-track fashion.”
How have Puma’s partnerships with Formula 1, Williams Racing and others elevated the brand’s presence in motorsports?
“Our new partnership with Formula 1 is an opportunity to further explore this blend of motorsports and lifestyle. Puma has always sat at the intersection of sports and fashion and can now translate the culture of motorsport into relevant streetwear collections and drive brand heat with a young and diverse audience that’s only continuing to grow. And most importantly, it continues to build on the foundations we’ve laid over the years with other motorsport partners globally. We’re thrilled to expand our prestigious portfolio of F1 partners to include Williams Racing, their iconic and prestigious attitude aligns perfectly with Puma.”
What expectations do you have for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix and its impact on both Puma and the sport in the U.S.?
“Las Vegas is a city known for world class entertainment and sports and we were thrilled when we heard that F1 would be bringing the Grand Prix to the strip. LVGP is going to provide race fans and sport enthusiasts with an incredible multi-day experience and as a brand we’re excited to be able to take part in the race through the lenses of entertainment, fashion and sport. We’re confident that both the F1 and Las Vegas Grand Prix teams will put on a successful Grand Prix.”
Why is it critical for Puma to show up authentically at the Las Vegas Grand Prix?
“At other Grand Prix’s, Puma has typically focused on race partner activations, driver appearances, retail activations and collaborative product launches. For this inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, we will expand that strategy and put an even greater focus on amplifying Puma as a leader in Motorsport culture. We will have several product launches tied to the weekend, like the Puma x Joshua Vides for Scuderia Ferrari collections and our first ever F1 capsule designed by our new Motorsport Creative Director, A$AP Rocky. We have talent and athlete activations all week long, an event dedicated to the car enthusiast community, and a larger push on out of home advertising, including on the new can’t miss Sphere.”
Puma has long supported major names in the sport, such as Lewis Hamilton. How has the partnership with Lewis Hamilton benefited the brand?
“Lewis Hamilton has been part of the Puma family since 2013 and a vocal partner when it comes to advocating for inclusion and equality, something Puma stands behind. Currently, our partnership with Lewis is extended through him being a driver for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and continuing to bring awareness to the brand within the sport.”
What does A$AP Rocky offer as the new F1 x Puma creative director?
“A$AP Rocky’s fashion knowledge, style and cultural expertise will bring a new perspective to the growing F1 audience. For the remainder of this year, he’ll have an impact on visuals and video content for the brand, including his just announced debut capsule collection with Puma and F1. His first campaign, which he has been working on behind the scenes as both creative director and producer, explores car culture in America and the impact it has on streetwear and fashion. Rocky will also focus his energy and efforts on developing bespoke capsules designed by him, that will influence the brand’s seasonal design directions moving forward. His first capsule collection dropped in time for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and there’s still more to come with Rocky and Puma.”
What can consumers expect from Puma as the exclusive seller of fanwear for the F1 teams starting in 2024? And what product innovations, both on and off the track, can we expect from the brand in 2024?
“Continued innovation in all product drops that continue to drive motorsport style from the track to the street. Puma’s history in motorsports sets us up perfectly for all that’s still to come within this fast-growing sport, especially in the U.S.”
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