Interview with Max Pollack

"Our strategy extends beyond sports, we’re embracing the mavericks who stir up 'good trouble.'"

June 4, 2024

"Our strategy extends beyond sports, we’re embracing the mavericks who stir up 'good trouble.'"

June 4, 2024

To win the Year of Sport, we have teamed up with Max Pollack and New York based MATTE Projects who produced our first brand campaign in a decade and helped us redefine our mantra FOREVER. FASTER. As “See the Game Like We Do” echoes through our brand network, we had the chance to talk to Max about their creative process and vision behind our new campaign.

Can you share the creative vision behind the “See the Game like We Do” campaign?

Max: I think we were really inspired by a couple things but PUMA’s history of embracing unique perspectives and standout athletes who challenge the norm and how well it aligns with the FOREVER. FASTER. brand motto, has been the biggest part. And we realized that the campaign must essentially be about redefining speed in today’s context. So, we’ve had the insight that speed offers a unique advantage. When you’re the fastest, the game seems to slow down, giving you time to innovate and develop unexpected strategies to win. So, we connected the concept of speed with bringing a fresh view to sports, both on and off the field, which is a perfect narrative for PUMA, considering your legacy and focus on speed. Our vision was to create an anthemic message that not only celebrates exceptional athletes but also empowers all people to see the game differently because everybody sees the world differently and everybody can go faster. Everyone can bring their perspective to their field of play. And PUMA symbolizes the “red pill” – the spider bite – that enables this transformation.

What were some of the key considerations when selecting the visual and thematic elements for the campaign?

Max: We were inspired by several elements, particularly a comment from Benoit about the Spidey-Verse and creating a super hero concept that would resonate with younger and older audiences while not being overtly comic book or “Marvel.” Our inspiration was drawn from the framing and composition of comic book and movie scenes, evident in our initial treatments. A breakthrough came when we revisited Linford Christie’s memorable Olympic stunt, which informed the “cat eyes” as a way of visualizing seeing the game different. This became a key part of our visual language. We prioritized shooting everything in-camera, utilizing special effects only to enhance the real actions captured. This method was crucial because it linked authentic performance with the excitement of a live game.

"Our vision was to create an anthemic message that not only celebrates exceptional athletes but also empowers all people to see the game differently because everybody sees the world differently and everybody can go faster."

Max Pollack, Co-Founder & Managing Partner @ MATTE Projects

10 shoots in 8 cities across 5 countries – Were there any unexpected challenges or memorable moments during the production?

Max: We had a really great moment with Jack Grealish during the shoot. We encouraged him to celebrate as if he’d scored a goal, and he was like: “I haven’t scored a goal all year, so I don’t know what it feels like.” After that shoot he then scored two goals in his next three games, and really inspired us with his performance. But also, his accuracy was amazing; he could hit the crossbar over and over again from midfield! It was a really fun experience; he was fantastic to work with.

Could you walk us through the process of collaborating with so many athletes for the campaign?

Max: Yes sure, so, all the athletes were incredibly generous with their time and fully committed to the project. Despite challenges like Neymar’s injury, each one brought their best to the production. There was a palpable excitement about participating in such a big project, and the talent we worked with was truly remarkable.


I heard you the campaign was tested before it went live. How did you ensure that it resonates across different cultures and regions?

Max: Yes, so we collaborated with Julie Legrand (Senior Director Global Brand Strategy) and her team,

who introduced a novel testing method focused on emotional connection, which is often overlooked in campaign effectiveness. This progressive approach provided super valuable insights into the campaign’s impact across various countries and demographics. One surprising finding was the significant effect of music choice on the audience’s emotional response. Initially, we used intense, electronic sports music, but a different cut featuring a fun and inspiring track – the one we ended up using – created a happier, more inspiring vibe. This less intense, more engaging atmosphere proved more successful in the tests, leaving viewers captivated with that kind of goosebumps feeling that comes from the emotional entertainment factor of sports. So, that greatly influenced our journey.

What does success look like for MATTE Projects when it comes to a campaign like this?

Max: I think with our vision of ‘seeing the game like we do’, success needs to be measured in the long-term. It’s more than a campaign; it’s a platform that must evolve over multiple campaigns to truly resonate with consumers. We aim to position PUMA as the preferred performance brand for those who approach the game differently. Our strategy extends beyond sports, we’re embracing the mavericks who stir up ‘good trouble.’ It’s about building a community that’s exciting to support and be part of. Continuation and expansion through further campaigns, experiential activations, and engaging social content, like our superhero theme, are key. Ultimately, success will be measured by the market’s response and athletes’ engagement with the brand, solidifying it as part of their identity in both lifestyle and performance.

Looking back over the last months, what’s your favorite memory in the whole campaign process?

Max: Uh, so you know, everything about Puma is speed, right? And everything about this campaign is speed. And, after flying to Herzogenaurach to present our concept, we were supposed to leave and were half way to the airport already but got a call to meet with Arne immediately to have a full-on meeting. So, an hour after we pitched the concept, we were back in there starting to work building out the campaign. And this was really a moment where we knew – wow, PUMA actually IS speed and it really kicked off the whole project.


This was a very memorable moment. It’s been an unforgettable journey, and we’re excited for what’s next.


Speaking of what’s next, can you give us a sneak peek of what else is still to come within the campaign? We saw social media, we saw billboards – what’s next?

Max: Yes, so we have specific campaign materials for the upcoming Copa, Euros, and Olympics, marking a busy three months ahead with targeted communications for these major events. Our aim is to dominate this year in sports, and our current focus is on finalizing these elements.

Thank you so much for your time and the glimpse behind the scenes of our brand campaign, Max!

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