Sex Sells—Yoga.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Apr 20, 2009
get elephant's newsletter

Fourth in a Series: This is What Effective Advertising Looks Like.

Kathryn Budig is blond (usually). She’s unusually lovely—like Seane Corn, she’s a yoga teacher built for American media. She’s accessible, fun, friendly, down to earth—and sexy.

Particularly with her clothes off. It’s news to no one that sex sells. In fact, it’s advertising’s oldest adage.

And so, in a crowded advertising market, Toesox (100% organic cotton, we like)—and Hard Tail, but that’s another story—have doubled down on yoga and raised you sex.

Still, sexual appeal can be a turn off when your market is 85% women—it can come off as cheap, sleazy, patriarchal, shallow, frivolous—something you don’t want to do with a demographic that would never call itself a demographic, but prefers community, kula, sangha.

Yoga practitioners, by and large, regard yoga as something more than exercise, and something less than religion. So it’s a tricky market to win with an ad, when said market has, by and large, got mixed feelings when it comes to commercializing their practice, and consumption generally.

November 2010 Toesox Ad in Yoga Journal

That’s where Jasper Johal comes in. A photographer with an eye for the naked human form that goes beyond lech and harkens back to art class—to greco-roman appreciation for form and beauty—his photos capture a stillness and exertion that lies at the heart of yoga practice. He and Kathryn (and Toesox, it seems) are of their demographic—so they can go out on a limb with conventionally outrageous advertising that offends no yogi and catches the eye of every reader.


And that’s…what effective advertising looks like.


[galleria thumb_w=120 thumb_h=90 thumbnail=”bottom” navigation=’none’ ]




About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


14 Responses to “Sex Sells—Yoga.”

  1. […] To really “get” the ending of Episode #2, you have to read this article from Elephant Journal and peruse the accompanying pics. Now THAT’S funny. Filled under: […]

  2. You'll have to ask yogitoes! Jasper Johal, the photographer, I know has taken a bunch of amazing photos of both genders, as well as handicapped, pregnant…

  3. […] reviewed his Body as Temple yoga calendars from time to time, and his work with Kathryn Budig for Toesox (click for photos), and his exquisitely attractive yet tasteful work for Hard Tail’s […]

  4. […] Johal is one of very few preeminent yoga photographers working today. He’s shot elephant favorite Kathryn Budig’s (nearly) naked ad campaign […]

  5. […] As I always say, we do 39 posts to every one that’s silly or sexy…but since folks click 39x more on funny or xexy or controversial posts, you get what you […]

  6. […] “My Lululemon poster:) up in Santa Monica.” ~ KB […]

  7. […] like the idea, I have to admit, of connecting love and sex and all that crazy stuff with mindfulness. Why have a crush on the Jonas Brothers, or […]

  8. MeThatWho says:

    The nudity in the JJ yoga images is incredible. Any group that deems them exploitation in any way just needs to get over themselves. Those images are fine art. Far too many people are just hung up and self absorbed with their PC nonsense. Truly those pics are a celebration of beauty.

  9. Graham says:

    I really like the toesox ads. They also make me more interested in learning about yoga. I don’t see the harm in the ads. They are very grateful and not at all pornographic. The naked human form can be extremely beautiful as artists throughout time have found. Yay Toesox and Kathryn Budig! Don’t let the killjoys deter your artistic creativity.

  10. Graham says:

    Autocorrect strikes again. That grateful should have been tasteful.

  11. Uh-uh. says:

    I like the toesox ads as well, though it looks like that woman has no vulva. I still would never buy toesox.
    And Waylon, really, no, advertising that is just a little less porno but still limited to displaying female bodies is not "effective. Get off it. You really do need some feminist education, dude.

  12. kiddingme? says:

    whoring yoga now is it? what next in the usa??

  13. […] of you might want to hear me spiel about that so let’s get it out of the way: The ads are sexy; they get your attention. They are meant to […]