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Brief Published: 13 Sep 2019

Puma 5th Avenue Flagship Uses VR Icons to Upskill Brand Fans


Puma has centred its new 5th Avenue flagship around a multisensory Skill Cube, where consumers can be coached by virtual Puma ambassadors. Reflecting the consumer appetite for artifice and illusion (see Digital Commerce: Retail’s Unreal Opportunities), such immersive initiatives are central to Puma’s long-term engagement strategy.

Reframing its ambassadorial athletes as approachable training buddies, the Skill Cube currently features the virtual reality figures of three sporting heavyweights: Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, and footballers Antoine Griezmann and Romelu Lukaku (French and Belgian respectively).

Designed by British agency Green Room, the Skill Cube is presently focused on delivering a realistic footwear trial, replicating training environments in detail. Visitors are met with 270° floor-to-ceiling LCD screens, dynamic lighting, surround sound, and multisport synthetic turf.

The experience begins in a virtual locker room before progressing to a CGI replica of a fan-filled San Siro stadium – home of football clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan. The venue is brought to life via five million individual blades of grass, the independent movement of 80,000 football fans, and updatable sponsorship boards.

Motion and depth sensors allow Puma to track participants as they move, enabling the athletes to train visitors. Hamilton takes them through three fitness trials, developing their skills to become ever faster. Meanwhile, after coaching by Griezmann or Lukaku, visitors are scored on their performance – a moment complemented by confetti canons, fireworks and a cheering crowd.

Data captured during sessions charts the visitor’s position on a digital leader board in the waiting area. Post-visit, each participant receives a personalised email and text for brand-boosting social sharing.

“Our approach was to encourage engagement and disrupt ‘autopilot customer’ browsing –an experience zone that mixes physical and digital interactions to elevate a positive product experience,” says Green Room digital experience director Martyn Palmer. 

The concept validates our Look Ahead 2019 trend From Story Living to Storytelling, and reveals a future of highly individualised multisensory experiences. For further exploration, see Biometric Brandscapes, part of our Human Tech Macro Trend – publishing on October 3.