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Puma Taps its Inner ‘Africa’ with New ANIMAGICAL Fragrance

PUMA recently announced that Usain Bolt will be the face of a new fragrance for men and women designed to celebrate PUMA’s support of African sports.  The name of the fragrance:  ANIMAGICAL. That’s right–ANImagical.  According to a statement, the fragrance “draws inspiration from the spirit of Africa, which is depicted through zebra print packaging.”  The fragrance for men has been described as “seductive, strong and playful”…an aromatic, green, fruity fragrance with notes of African Kei Apple, cardamom oil, rosemary and pineapple, as well as white ironwood.  Puma Animagical Woman will be a floral, fruity, woody scent, combining pink grapefruit and Caribbean lime, Cape Town freesia, water lily, chocolate and South African Tamboti Wood.

Now…I would have loved to be a fly on the PUMA boardroom wall when their insightful executives came up with the idea for this one.  Was no one in the room to advise them against naming the fragrance Animagical? Why–In 2010, a year when South Africa is making  history on the continent with the World Cup–are we still associating Africa.. Africans with animals?  From the ads to the positioning, everything about the product screams seduction…hyper-sexuality and animalistic qualities that have become stereotypes of not just Africans, but people of color throughout the Diaspora.  I mean hey—Usain Bolt isn’t even African.. but I guess that doesn’t matter.  He’s brown, so I guess that will do.

If PUMA wanted to create a fragrance to honor the spirit of Africa, they surely missed the mark on this one.  Who are they targeting here?  Athletes in need of a little smell good after a workout?  Hyper-“exotic” women on their way to the club? I don’t get it.

Check out this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the shoot–directed by none other than Hype Williams.

Last 5 posts by Sherry J. Bitting