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Puma pounces on film promotions

Company pacts with Meteor for movie tie-ins

Puma’s looking to make the leap into film promotions, inking a deal with Meteor Worldwide to seek out as many as six movies for tie-ins next year.

The German maker of athletic apparel has relied on product placement to push its brand in Hollywood, but the company’s now ready to spend considerable money as a promotional partner.

It plans to use a slate of films — a mix of high-profile studio tentpoles and indies — to launch two clothing lines. One, called Urban Mobility, will roll out to retailers starting in February; the other will follow next summer. Products would appear in the films.

Brands have long been interested in partnering with film properties that coincide with the release of a product launch, but a last-minute release-date change or product shots left on the cutting room floor can make tie-ins a risky endeavor for marketers who have to plan campaigns at least six months to a year in advance.

Los Angeles-based Meteor will assist in seeking out the films on which Puma will partner, with Seth Schur, Meteor’s VP of product and brand integration, overseeing those efforts.

“Puma wants to use the release of the films as event marketing and rally around that moment in time when the movies are being released around the world with a big promotional push,” said Meteor managing partner Ben Blanco. “Movies are an event by their nature.”

The exact dollar figure Puma plans to spend around the pics has not yet been disclosed, considering that deals with specific projects are still in the works, but reps said it could be several million dollars per movie.

That money will be spent mostly on print, mobile and online ads, displays inside Puma’s stores, as well as at national retailers like Foot Locker and Finish Line. Puma does not traditionally spend its marketing dollars on TV.

Meteor will not represent all of Puma’s entertainment moves. Other efforts will still be handled inhouse by Puma’s entertainment marketing team in Los Angeles and its international PR team in Boston.

To compete with rivals like Nike and Reebok, who have become ubiquitous in Hollywood over the years, Puma’s been upping its efforts to push its leaping cat logo into more TV shows and movies, recently appearing in shows “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Entourage” and “How I Met Your Mother,” as well as films “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” and “Blades of Glory.”

Before that, its products showed up mainly in Fox series “Malcolm in the Middle” and the film “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” produced by Regency because topper Arnon Milchan had been an investor in Puma.

Puma is Meteor’s latest client win after signing a deal with MPG-owned B6 Integrated Entertainment to develop entertainment projects for the agency’s brands. Managing partner Dieter Abt also brokered the $200 million product placement and promotional pact between Volkswagen and NBC Universal in 2005.

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