Can Mario Balotelli revitalize the Puma football brand?
Mario Balotelli makes headlines; and he did so both on and off the field with his customized boots last week. As AC Milan took on AS Roma, the vain Italian forward marched onto the San Siro wearing white boots covered in newspaper headlines about himself and with no obviously visible boot manufacture.
And no brand dared to own the conversation either.
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The story did not end here. Before another ‘Derby della Madonnina’, Balotelli revealed through Twitter, his new boots and sponsor, with “Why Always PUMA” beaming the headline. This move became possible following the expiration of his previous deal with Nike.

Mario, who all the brands were trying to sign – not just PUMA, is very happy with the move and said: “This is a great move for me. From the early conversations I had with PUMA it was clear that they understand me, my personality and my ambition.”
PUMA’s latest recruit could open up the battle of sports brands ahead of what will be the most marketed World Cup. For a long time, the industry has watched a two-way horse race between German brand adidas and US based Nike, and that’s still likely to be the case. However, Balotelli’s eccentric personality and unpredictable behavior is a the perfect opportunity for PUMA to revamp its brand name and produce headlines through marketing one of modern day’s most talked about footballers.
Staying on the subject of the 2014 World Cup, we can expect Nike to hero both their global key athletes Neymar and Ronaldo, adidas with Messi and now PUMA with their man Balotelli. There are, of course, many other top footballers associated with these brands, but these guys are placed in their own exclusive category.
With both the Italian national team and Balotelli now represented by PUMA, we’re looking forward to a new approach from the brand, high quality video content and an exciting Italian home shirt launch, in line with their main competitors. Previously, PUMA has been below-par with their marketing campaigns, such as the recent Aguero and Bolt speed training video.
PUMA may not possess the sponsorship power of adidas or marketing flair that fuels Nike, but with the addition of Balotelli to their squad and winning the Arsenal sponsorship contract the future for Puma could turn things around. My advice is to break all the rules, go crazy with the Italian superstar and create beyond memorable headlines. He’s the ideal footballer to shoot Puma into the limelight.
It’s a new beginning for the brand and Balotelli. We’ll see you both soon.

This piece was written by our Managing Editor Dominic Vieira. Comments below please.

Can Mario Balotelli revitalize the Puma football brand?

Mario Balotelli makes headlines; and he did so both on and off the field with his customized boots last week. As AC Milan took on AS Roma, the vain Italian forward marched onto the San Siro wearing white boots covered in newspaper headlines about himself and with no obviously visible boot manufacture.

And no brand dared to own the conversation either.

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The Diamond Heist: Was Nike’s Sale of Umbro Ruthless?

By Kyle Elliott, writing from Leeds

The future of a name that has seemingly been an ever-present in the world of football apparel was cast into uncertainty recently, as Nike announced the $225m sale of Umbro, which was acquired in 2008.

Originally a purchase to combat adidas’ absorption of Reebok, Nike announced earlier this year that they’d be listening to offers for the Manchester-based brand, as they felt the Nike Football label had grown to the point where it could serve the needs of Nike’s customer base.

Rumours soon flew that an investment group from South Korea and Sports Direct tycoon Mike Ashley were both ‘in’ for the historic brand; however another detail was also abundantly clear: the offers Nike were getting where well short of the $580m they paid for the Double-Diamond trademark 5 years prior.

Stranger still, rather than ‘dressing up’ the deal further, Nike actually began to make Umbro look like an even worse potential investment for interested parties.

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