Rihanna or Serena? The Endorsement Puzzle for Women’s Sportswear

Puma’s partnership with pop star has helped revive the brand; Lululemon sticks with ’local superheroes’

To market women’s sportswear, industry executives have long grappled with a perennial debate: Are celebrities or sports stars more effective endorsers?

In the case of German brand Puma SE, its 2014 decision to sign pop star Rihanna as a creative director appears to have paid off. Annual sales have grown from €3 billion ($3.6 billion) to nearly €4 billion, the brand has expanded distribution in major retailers like Foot Locker Inc., and parent company Kering SA on Thursday announced a plan to distribute 70% of Puma’s shares...

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