True to its “Forever Faster” slogan, Puma is one of the world’s best and most influential sportswear manufacturers. It has managed to go toe-to-toe (almost literally) with the likes of Nike and Adidas for the longest time. Despite some controversies and the many challenges the brand has been through, it has managed to stay afloat and continue to influence the sportswear market and trends. Here are more fascinating puma facts to make your day.
1. A Rift Between Two Siblings Resulted in the Puma Brand
Rudolf Dassler, the older son of Christoph Dassler, who worked at a shoe factory, founded Puma. It all started in 1924 when Rudolf and his younger brother, Adolf, founded a shoe company. However, sibling rivalry and general misunderstanding ensued, and the company’s future was bleak.
The siblings’ rift reached a breaking point in 1943, but they continued to work together until 1948, when they finally split. Rudolf founded Puma in the same year, while Adolf founded… Adidas.
2. Puma Was Initially Called “Ruda”
After the Dassler brothers split, Rudolf didn’t immediately call his company Puma. Instead, he named it “Ruda,” from “Ru” in Rudolf and “Da” in Dassler. It only took him a few months to change the name to the modern-day Puma. According to Rudolf, he heeded the consumers’ request to have products with characteristics similar to the puma animal: strong, enduring, agile, and fast.
3. Puma Logo’s Designer Refused Commission Payments That Would Have Seen Him Become a Millionaire
The Puma logo we have today was designed by Lutz Backes, a famous caricaturist at the time. Interestingly, the company offered to pay him a cent of every Puma item sold, but he refused and demanded upfront payment. He was also given a pair of shoes and a sports bag for his work. If he had agreed to the commissions’ offer, Backes could have been a millionaire.
4. The Rivalry Between Rudolf and Adolf Continued Into Their Businesses
From the look of things, splitting the original business didn’t solve any disputes the Dassler brothers had. If anything, it aggravated the whole situation. As soon as they started their own ventures, Puma and Adidas got into a fierce rivalry.
It was so bad that the town where the two companies were headquartered, Herzogenaurach, was divided into two. Anytime an individual met another, the first thing they would do was to inspect the brand of shoes the other was wearing. This explains why the region is regarded as “the town of bent necks.”
5. Thousands of Women Set World Records During a Puma Campaign
Thousands of women set a Guinness World Record for the most people holding the abdominal plank position in a Puma campaign. As part of its global #DoYou women empowering campaign, the brand challenged women to showcase their inner strength – 1,623 women successfully held the plank position for over a minute.
6. Puma Developed the First Soccer Boot with Screw-in Studs
Soon after its foundation in 1948, Puma developed the first soccer boots with screw-in studs dubbed “Super Atom.” Some West Germany national soccer team members wore the boots, including Herbert Burdenski, who scored the country’s first post-war goal.
7. The Company’s Working Conditions Was Once a Subject of Controversy
Puma’s working conditions haven’t always been the best, something that the company’s management once acknowledged and promised to do better. In 2012, a woman protesting about the same was shot in Cambodia, sparking a controversy. The Labor Behind the Label then reported that 30 workers had fainted in China while working at Puma’s clothing line factory in the same year.
8. Puma Broke Their Pact With Adidas Over Signing Pele
When it comes to conversations about who the greatest soccer player of all time is, the Brazilian legend Pele definitely has a genuine shout. He was such a star that, before the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Puma and Adidas made a pact not to try to sign him.
Famously dubbed “the Pele Pact,” the two companies thought engaging in a bidding war to sign the legend would be too expensive. A deal was agreed upon, but Puma went back on their word to sign him.
9. Pele Stopped A Game So He Could Tie His Puma Boots Laces
In the 1970 FIFA World Cup match between Brazil and Peru, Brazilian soccer legend Pele stopped the referee from starting it so he could tie his puma boots laces. The cameras zoomed in on the Puma King boots for the world to see. This marketing campaign generated a lot of publicity and was widely praised.
10. It Sponsors a Fair Share of the Sports Market
Puma might not be the largest sportswear company, but its impact on the market cannot be ignored. It sponsors soccer stars such as Neymar, Marco Reus, Christian Pulisic, and Antoine Griezmann, to name a few. The brand also holds 5% of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund stake (it also supplies the club with kits). In athletics, Puma sponsors Brazil’s, Jamaica’s, Trinidad & Tobago’s, and Portugal’s teams.
11. Puma Has Collaborated With Celebrities Other Than Sports Stars
While Puma focuses more on sports, the brand has previously (and continues to) worked with other celebrities. For instance, in 2014, it named music icon Rihanna as its creative director for its womenswear line. Others include The Weeknd and Selena Gomez, who were appointed creative collaborator and ambassador, respectively.
12. Puma Launched Its RS-Computer Shoe in 1986
Before the modern-day smartwatches, Puma developed and launched RS-Computer shoes that tracked and recorded the wearer’s steps and calories. The footwear had computer chips that collected all the relevant data. It was first launched in 1986, the same year that Puma became a public company.
13. The Brand Has Expanded Its Reach into The World of E-Sports
Besides AI and VR, the E-Sports market is rapidly growing thanks to the massive technological growth. Puma is one of the companies that has identified and accepted it as a growing field; it has partnered with professional gaming organizations in a bid to extend its reach to uncharted waters.
14. It Is the Third Largest Sportswear Manufacturer
Puma is the third largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, only behind Nike and Adidas. The Bavaria-based company designs and makes athletic and casual accessories, apparel, and footwear.