Sportswear brand Puma has announced a multi-year partnership with Rihanna. The pop star will also become “creative director” for the company’s women’s business as part of the deal.
Following the footsteps of other celebrity creative directors like Alicia Keys at Blackberry and Will.i.am at Intel, Rihanna will “directly [influence] product collections,” Puma said in a press release announcing the deal. From January next year, she will work with Puma’s internal product creation team to design new collections for women’s training but also customise classic Puma styles.
Rihanna will also become the face of Puma’s women’s training category, appearing in the next leg of the brand’s “Forever Faster” campaign, which has featured sports stars including sprinter Usain Bolt and Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero.
Why Rihanna in a campaign filled with athletes? Bjørn Gulden, Puma’s CEO, said Rihanna’s “global profile, her charisma and individuality, [and] her ambition” make her the perfect ambassador for the brand. Puma already had a strong portfolio in football, running and motorsport (Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton is also an ambassador) but needed a face for its women’s training division. Rihanna fits the bill.
The Forever Faster campaign appears to be firing on all cylinders for Puma. Last month the company boosted its sales outlook for the year, saying revenue will rise by a low-single digit percentage, up from a prior forecast of unchanged sales, Bloomberg reported. In its most recent quarter revenue rose 6.4% to €843 million, but Puma’s ad budget and sponsorship deals, such as its recently-signed sponsorship of Arsenal Football Club, cut into profitability.
Christoph Schlienkamp, an analyst at Bankhaus Lampe, told Bloomberg last month: “That shows the theme of marketing, marketing, marketing.”