Puma reacts fast after shop window of Parisian Intersport branch is vandalised

How to turn a thorny situation to your advantage. On 6th July, the giant adverts for the new kit of French football club Olympique Marseille (OM) were torn off by rival football ‘fans’ at the rue de Rivoli branch of sport retailer Intersport in Paris. The long-standing rivalry between OM and the local Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) club clearly lies behind the act of vandalism. A week later, the store sported a totally different look, and showed PSG’s new goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon defending his goal, with the slogan ‘maintenant, notre vitrine est bien gardée’ (now our shop window is well defended) prominently featured on the shop front.

The Intersport branch in rue de Rivoli, Paris, sported new-look shop windows on 13th July- DR

A touch of humour to defuse a nasty situation which received extensive press coverage in France and created quite a buzz on social media. Intersport emphasised the dexterity Puma showed in responding to the situation swiftly. “Puma reacted quickly and was able to turn negative publicity into something positive in a smart way,” was the comment at Intersport France, an organisation which topped the €2 billion mark in retail sales in 2017 (+10%). “This store is a genuine communication tool for us since it’s our only store in Paris. What’s most important in this whole affair is that no one was injured” by the shop window’s destruction, added Intersport.

In France, Puma outfits OM from the 2018/19 season and it is also the “lifetime sponsor” of Italian football icon Gianluigi Buffon. The German sport brand defined itself as “a football brand whose strengths are creativity and responsiveness.” “The arrival of Gianluigi Buffon [at PSG] provides a unique opportunity for digital advertising that touches our consumers directly, in the heart of Paris,” added Puma, which also tried to calm things down, saying it cherishes “the ethical values of sport and chiefly respect, which inspires sport practitioners and supporters alike.”

The licensee operating Intersport’s 1,800 m2 rue de Rivoli branch in Paris is Prosport, a company led by Bernard Joannin which is chiefly active in the north of France. The branch is a key store for the sport retailer and was opened in 2014. Ahead of the recent Football World Cup final, won by France, Intersport reportedly sold nearly 100,000 replicas of the French national team kit by Nike, twice the number sold for the 2016 European Championship, whose final also featured France. 

Translated by Nicola Mira

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