The Spanish footwear brand is going to participate in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, with a yacht steered by the Emirates Team New Zealand. It will be christened Camper. It will fly the flags of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and the Real Club Nautico de Palma.

Officials of Camper declined to disclose the size of this new investment, but admitted that it will be a big effort for the Spanish shoe company. It had already associated its name with the Copa del Rey, a local sailing event around its island of Majorca last year, but the Volvo Ocean Race will catapult Camper into a much bigger and more international dimension. A much bigger shoe company, Puma, will also participate with its own boat in the next Volvo Ocean Race, as it did during the 2008-09 race.

The Volvo Ocean Race will start at the end of 2001 in Alicante, Spain, and will finish in Galway, Ireland, in mid-2012, after stops at Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajai (Brazil), Miami, Lisbon and Lorient (France). Camper said that the Mediterranean has always been at the heart of the company's image, and it expects to get a lot of inspiration from the race, which will propel it into a more international dimension.

The managing director of the Emirates Team New Zealand, Grant Dalton, said that the team was in a position to integrate the Volvo Ocean Race race into its future program, in spite of its commitments to the Louis Vuitton Trophy regattas, the Audi MedCup 2010 and the next America's Cup. Dalton has won the Volvo Ocean Race before.

Camper has been launching several other original marketing initiatives lately while opening a new original Camper hotel in Berlin and then, last March, a special Camper store on Calle de Fuencarral in Madrid. Called Camper Together, it pays tribute to the history of industrial design in many other sectors, featuring other objects such as chairs, a coffee pot, a jug and pairs of steering wheels, telephones, coat hangers and coffee pots ? all painted in white to set them apart from many pairs of Camper's colored shoes.

Camper's latest marketing initiative, which ran from April 15 to May 15, called on anyone to write an original story of 900 characters about any city in Italian, German, English, French or Spanish. The stories will be judged by well-known authors in five countries. The winners will be allowed to follow a creative writing course at a school in their own country, and the best writer will be invited to spend a weekend at the Casa Camper hotel in Barcelona or Berlin.

Camper would not disclose its most recent sales figures. The company says it now has 320 own stores and shop-in-shops spread across 42 countries, and is distributed by 2,800 independent retailers.