Adriana Lima and RJ Barrett Reveal Why Puma Has Become a Force

In a conversation dominated for years by Nike and Adidas, Puma managed to break through the competitive North American athletic market in 2019. And supermodel icon Adriana Lima may have hit on why the brand has been so successful as of late while presenting the FNAA Brand of the Year Award to Puma.

“I believe that in everything — shoes, fashion, whatever it is — there is always a story behind it,” Lima said and continued, “That’s how people connect themselves to the brand.”

One rising star who is enamored by Puma is promising New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett, who signed with FN’s 2019 Brand of the Year in August.

Barrett played college ball for a Nike-backed college, Duke University, and at 19 has hooped in an era dominated by the Swoosh. But he was aware of the impact that Puma was about to have — and should have for years to come.

“It’s great to see how much the brand has grown and how it’s starting to take the world by storm,” Barrett said during his presentation. 

With Puma’s increasing popularity, Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden revealed during his speech that the brand he leads needs to be about more than selling shoes and apparel — and that his company has the right ambassadors to accomplish great things.

“Everywhere I go people care about sports, fashion and footwear,” Gulden said. “And if you think about the athletes, the models, the actors, the singers, the entertainers that we work with, with the enormous influence that they have, I think we all should work together to make this planet a better planet to live on, not only for us but also for the generations after us.”

Prior to tonight’s awards, Gulden explained that regardless of Puma’s success, he isn’t satisfied and expects more of his brand within the Nike and Adidas-dominated athletic landscape moving forward.

“I’m not looking at the competition and saying, ‘I need to compete against these guys; I need to beat them.’ I [believe that] if we do the job for the consumer, we will be successful,” the CEO said. “We have to get more retail space, we have to talk even more with the consumer and then we will grow.”

He continued: “We have had a good run and have delivered what we promised, but we have a lot to improve and we know what to improve. We’re at the start of a journey that will go on for a long time.”

The 33rd annual FNAA ceremony will be held at the IAC Building in New York. Sponsors for the event include Klarna, Geox, The Style Room Powered by Zappos, FDRA, Micam Milano and Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky.

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