“il mostro” – the sailing yacht of Sportlifestyle company PUMA – and the PUMA Ocean Racing Crew finished their maiden Volvo Ocean Race, “the Everest of Sailing”, in second place on 27 June 2009 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Volvo Ocean Race is a 37,000 nautical mile (68,524 km) round the world adventure and is one of the world’s toughest sporting events.
“We are thrilled and proud of PUMA’s Volvo Ocean Race debut success and wish to congratulate the PUMA Ocean Racing Crew on fighting for an excellent second place in a sensational race”, said Jochen Zeitz, PUMA Chairman and CEO. “PUMA’s participation in the Volvo Ocean Race was the most innovative marketing campaign the company has ever launched and proved to be an extremely successful starting signal for our sailing category with the investment having been paid more than off. Sales of PUMA´s Volvo Ocean Race merchandising collection exceeded our expectations.”
Skipper Ken Read commented: “This race has been an amazing journey for PUMA Ocean Racing. It seems like a lifetime ago since we first announced PUMA’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race in March 2007 and here we are today, having just sailed over 50,000 miles, visited 10 countries and been awarded the trophy for second place in the race. It’s been an absolute dream. But it’s not just been a yacht race. Any successful business like this is all about the people. And we have the best people I have ever been associated with in sailing. Through the PUMA Ocean Racing team and the extensive activity associated with the program around the world, PUMA has brought hundreds of thousands of new fans to the sport of sailing, and I maintain that the sport is now changed forever.”
Over 5 million people visited the Volvo Ocean Race stopover villages and seen PUMA’s il mostro, PUMA City and our local market initiatives. Over 44,000 customers and PUMA employees were taken for a sailing tour on a PUMA yacht either before the start or in one of the stopover ports of the race.
PUMA’s eye-catching sailing yacht “il mostro”, the innovative PUMA Sailing Collections, the innovative marketing initiatives launched at the numerous stop-over ports, PUMA City and the successful performance of the PUMA Ocean Racing Crew generated extensive media coverage that more than offset PUMA’s investment in the Volvo Ocean Race. The value of the media coverage on PUMA’s entry in the Volvo Ocean Race was estimated to exceed USD 40 million.
PUMA used the 11 port destinations of the Race to activate complex onshore marketing strategies. PUMA used every single race location – Alicante, Cape Town, Cochin in India, Singapore, Qingdao in China, Rio de Janeiro, Boston, Galway in Ireland, Marstrand in Sweden, Stockholm and finally St. Petersburg – to not only position PUMA as a Sailing brand, but to convey PUMA’s overall brand message, creating visibility for other PUMA categories through media and star-studded events. Such activities have set a new marketing benchmark in the growing sport of sailing. At the same time, while the sport of sailing is often perceived to be very exclusive, PUMA aimed to break down this misconception. The PUMA Ocean Racing campaign has successfully begun to broaden the sports’ audiences, with an inclusive, fun outlook on the sport.
The Volvo Ocean Race was the perfect platform to launch the PUMA Sailing performance and lifestyle collections and reach new target consumers. PUMA launched a full range of nautical inspired apparel, footwear and accessories, from offshore sailing gear to onshore lifestyle fashion. The PUMA Sailing Performance collection was developed and tested by the PUMA Ocean Racing team itself, and was worn by the crew throughout the entire race. Every single item worn by the PUMA Ocean Racing team from apparel to footwear and accessories, worn both on and off the water and in extreme conditions, was made by PUMA. PUMA delivered an impressive testament of its expertise and know-how in the new sailing category which was built up in no time to compete at the highest level in every respect. The first PUMA Sailing Lifestyle collections hit the stores at the beginning of 2008.
PUMA’s entry into sailing opened up further opportunities for entering other categories, such as the outdoor market. The Volvo Ocean Race served as a perfect test laboratory for PUMA’s outdoor products as the crew had to be equipped with apparel and footwear suitable for extreme weather conditions – from freezing cold to burning heat.
PUMA’s retail expertise manifested itself by providing a unique shopping experience in PUMA City at the stop-over ports. Retail expectations were exceeded, after sales in PUMA City on a single day in Boston topped daily sales in any PUMA store ever worldwide.
PUMA City is a mobile architecture and has accompanied our sailing crew during parts of the Race, being shipped to and assembled at the stop-over ports in Alicante and Boston to host celebrations, press events, entertainment and in-port race viewing. A unique retail space offered a selection of the PUMA Sailing, Motorsport, Urban Mobility and PUMA Archives apparel, footwear and accessories as well as the entire Volvo Ocean Race merchandise collection. PUMA City – that won the ‘Best Retail Space’ award by American publication Travel + Leisure – is a massive 11,000 square-foot structure made from twenty-four long steel shipping containers, each weighing in at eleven tons.
The 11-men strong crew around skipper Ken Read raced 10 legs of the race since the start in Alicante, Spain last October, and visited 10 countries in Africa, Asia, South and North America. Every leg of the race brought intense weather conditions, crazy boat speeds, navigation of dangerous seas and uncharted waters, broken equipment and even injuries onboard. They crossed the equator four times, experienced temperatures ranging between 0 and 35 degrees Celsius, consumed over 8,250,000 calories of mostly freeze-dried food, desalinated 140 litres of water per day for cooking and drinking, used 5,560 square metres of sail material to make 24 sails and over 2.5 kilometres of rope on il mostro.