Puma's DEFY City

Puma announced Defy sneakers with Selena Gomez, the star of Puma‘s Defy campaign with an exclusive invite-only event on May 16, 2018, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. Sneakers and Selena Gomez aside, I wanted to share the event experience from an advertising perspective. With the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Instagramable moments, consumers were able to engage in playful content while establishing deep emotional connections with the brand. So I wanted to share my experience and key learnings with you.

The cute email invite for the event.

The cute email invite for the event.


Prior to attending the event, I was instructed to download the PUMA DEFY City App from the app or play store. The experience was enhanced by exclusive AR content throughout the event.

Augmented reality triggers within DEFY City were enabled by positioning your phone on anything with the color pink to UNLOCK & SHARE stickers throughout the city. When you found a trigger, you opened the camera in the app and hovered to experience the AR. The idea was to record the experience you were viewing and share through your social networks. It was strait-out-of a Harry Potter novel and I loved it!

Augmented reality triggers within DEFY City were enabled by positioning your phone on anything with the color pink to UNLOCK & SHARE stickers throughout the city. When you found a trigger, you opened the camera in the app and hovered to experience the AR. The idea was to record the experience you were viewing and share through your social networks. It was strait-out-of a Harry Potter novel and I loved it!


Here is an example of how the Puma DEFY app worked.

I was definitely guilty of the Instagrambale moments. I really loved the way Puma created this experience or pop-up in the back lot of Paramount Studios. There was a fake high school, a post office which had postcards with AR capabilities, and of course a bus full of balloons. 

Key Learnings from an advertising perspective:

  1. By inviting bloggers, influencers, and media Puma created its own content to help launch the new sneakers with the #DEFYCity hashtag.

  2. While this was an innovative way to create an awesome campaign, most of the focus for the Puma DEFY City was on Selena Gomez and less on the AR factor. In fact, I didn't see anyone really engaging with the AR app. Missed opportunity? Perhaps. But there was a great turn-out because of the celeb-factor.

  3. People are interested in Instagram moments vs. what AR can do. But what if you had the best of both worlds? How can AR make you feel like an integral part of the campaign ads?

  4. I kind of wish there was a treasure hunt using the AR app at the actual event. Where you can go around the city and find clues to win a new pair of sneakers. All I ended up with was a pair of $10 socks that had my initials embroidered on them.

  5. I was very impressed with the overall graphics, and colors of course-being a graphic designer and all. But I kind of felt the AR was a one-trick-pony kind of deal...just showing the shoes rotating with some hard-to-read copy.

Tech, FashionMarina Murad