Edson Arantes do Nascimento, surprised by this name right. Well, he is none other than the great Pele. He is considered the great God of football. He helped the Brazilian team win three world cups and his world record in the number of goals is still unbroken. He was named among the top 100 most influential people of the world in the 20th Century and the first football player to receive a knighthood from the Queen of England at the Buckingham Palace. The situation was like whatever Pele touched turned into gold. He was such a great player that the then Brazilian Government declared him a national property so that no other country can sign a contract with him while he played for the Brazilian National team. It was no wonder that the shoe companies were dying to sign a contract with him. Pele unknowingly signed a contract with Puma and later was also known as Puma King Pele.
Pele contract with Puma
It was the era of the 1970s. Pele had helped Brazil win 1958, and 1962 world cups. The companies reigning the shoe market at that time were Adidas and Puma. Adidas was already heavy on Puma in various other sports fields. Both the companies wanted Pele in their team and were on the verge of fighting. But, at the last moment, they signed a ‘Pele Pact’, as a result of which, none of the companies will be signing Pele. But, the pact did not last long. Here is what happened.
Puma had sent a representative to the Brazil team named Hans Henningson, who was a reporter and was on a friendly note with the entire Brazil team. Pele was not aware of the ‘Pele Pact’ between two major shoe companies. Hans was approaching other players for the contract. Pele was irked that why Hans is not approaching him. Pele had a private talk with Hans and he took a bold decision of signing Pele for Puma without informing Puma. When Puma came to know, they agreed to the contract and paid Pele the basic amount of $1,20,000. But, they kept the deal a secret from Adidas so that they cannot challenge them in court. What happened then is history.
Puma King Pele flaunting his shoes
As a part of the contract, the player should somehow tie his shoelaces in the world cup match and draw the camera’s attention. So, here is what the player decided to do.
It was the Quarterfinal match of Brazil against Peru. Pele was at the midfield waiting for the play to kick-off. He took the umpire’s permission to tie his shoelaces before the play started. The media took attention and announced that Pele needs to tie his shoes. All the cameras zoomed in on Pele, as the legend knelt down to tie his shoes, and boom there were his Puma shoes on camera. Mindwell, this was not a mistake but a smart and calculated move by Pele and Puma.
From then on Puma became one of the biggest shoe brands and Puma sales jumped beyond expectation after the legends action. This was a very well planned strategy from both sides to increase the sales and avoid any legal conflict with Adidas.