Puma prowl

Until now Puma has relied on its good looks to take it places, but with the recent hire of Joanne Dennis as its director of marketing, the Toronto-based sport and lifestyle brand is getting strategic.

Until now Puma has relied on its good looks to take it places, but with the recent hire of Joanne Dennis as its director of marketing, the Toronto-based sport and lifestyle brand is getting strategic.

‘Puma has grown so quickly over the last three years that marketing was a bit of an afterthought,’ says Dennis.

But with Puma growing more popular, Ritch Bedford, VP general merchandise manager, says it was time to create a marketing post. He says Dennis will map out a long-term marketing strategy for the brand. There are other changes afoot, too. If the right locales are found, the company would consider more stores, says Dennis who will also build a small internal marketing team.

With its creative still imported from Europe, Puma’s push will mainly be grassroots. Dennis will organize events and PR initiatives that will target its diverse consumer base. ‘We are just as much the Juicy Couture mom, as we are the DJ scene, as we are the casual runner,’ she says. (Toronto’s MacPhee does PR for Puma.)

One of the first initiatives under Dennis’ helm is the Sept. 18 launch of Puma’s new line of bodywear into 50 stores, including Holt Renfrew, Aritzia, TNT and Sporting Life. Partnering with Holt, five graffiti artists will customize clothing for shoppers in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto.

Partnerships with yoga studios, marathons and the Toronto International Film Festival are also planned and the brand will continue to sponsor hot club DJs.

Dennis, a brand manager in Toronto-based Kraft Canada’s cheese group for three years, worked on the Philadelphia cream cheese ‘Heaven’ campaign and on Cheez Whiz. More recently she was an investment advisor with Scotia McLeod.