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February 12, 2012

Yoga: it’s what’s for dinner. ~ Sean O’Connor

Yoga needs an ad agency. Why? Because advertising works.

Coca Cola does not spend more than $1 billion a year for nothing. Same for Budweiser, McDonald’s, Target, Nike, and any other global brand you can name. Companies of all kinds spend unfathomable sums to convince us that we will be happier/sexier/funnier/younger/thinner/more popular/you name it, if only we would buy the right soda, sneaker, burger or beer.

And even though our super-smart selves know most of these promises to be false, our wee reptilian brain receptors are not so sure. How else to explain Joe Sixpack’s apparent belief that drinking a particular brand of beer will make him more attractive to women? Put another way, how hard could it be to convince him that yoga could do that and more?

That is one of the wonderful things about yoga—it actually works. If you are a practitioner, then you are probably happier/sexier/funnier/younger/thinner/ more popular than you were before you started practicing. (If not, then at least you are at peace with your unmet expectations!)

Now imagine that yoga had, at its disposal, million-dollar budgets and a bevy of branding experts. With those resources, it could create demand for yoga the way DeBeers creates demand for diamonds, the way Frito-Lay creates demand for Doritos, not to mention the way the two Toms sell toothpaste and shoes.

Even though yoga really does improve lives, it has still got a serious image problem in Middle America. That is why, for the first time in recorded history, I am going to put yoga and NASCAR in the same sentence and suggest that there is a natural sponsorship opportunity here. I know I am much calmer behind the wheel since I began practicing, so if being centered, breathing under control, with a focused drishti works at 65 miles per hour in Seattle, imagine what it could do at 200 miles per hour at Indy. Namaste NASCAR!

A successful yoga ad campaign would cause toddlers to throw tantrums until their parents bought them the cereal with Tony the Tiger doing tree pose on the box. Teen girls would text each other, giddy to meet up for yoga after school. Instead of MetLife or Aflac, the beautiful aerial footage during Monday Night Football would be provided courtesy of the yoga Blimp. And at next year’s Super Bowl, the halftime show would be a yoga extravaganza.

Finally, to top it all off, yoga would get itself a great jingle. Sanskrit chants have their place, but they are hard to wrap your tongue around and most people have no idea what they mean. So Yoga could hire Barry Manilow, Kanye West or Katy Perry to write a jingle so lyrical and catchy that even the world’s great meditators would not be able to get it out of their heads. Soon enough, people all across America would be humming along to that song, totally loving it, convinced that yoga is the real thing.

Image credit here.

Sean O’Connor lives in Seattle and carries 4 business cards:  Writer, yoga teacher, branding consultant and voice actor. An easy place to catch up with him here.

This article was prepared by Assistant Yoga Editor, Soumyajeet Chattaraj.

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