After two decades of getting a second-rate rap as a sneaker, Puma has done something about it.
Hired a first-rate rapper as their president.
As part of its aggressive commitment to relaunch its basketball sneaker category for the first time in 20 years, Puma announced on Monday that rapper and business mogul Jay-Z has been named president of Puma Basketball.
"We're making a serious statement about the entry of the category, that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused," says Adam Petrick, the brand's global director of brand and marketing.
In advance of this week's NBA draft, Puma has already signed projected first-round picks Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Zhaire Smith to multiyear footwear and apparel endorsement deals. The trio represents the first NBA endorsement deals for the brand in two decades. Puma last signed Vince Carter in 1998 to a 10-year deal, although the short-lived contract ended after just two seasons.
Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, is expected to be leading brand creative direction for marketing campaigns, will have a voice on product and will also help to identify which upcoming NBA players and entertainers may be best suited for the brand to sign.
Wonder if they will make a Beyoncé brand for the ladies.