April 3, 2013

Why We Can’t Stop Talking About Lululemon: The Marketing Brilliance of Morbid Curiosity.

I know, I know. We’re sick to death of talking about Lululemon.

Their recent April Fool’s Day stunt with the leather yoga pants, the “From Farm to Studio” bit, was distasteful for most of us (full disclosure: vegan), and even outright disturbing with all those takes of cutting the leather over and over again, not to mention the dismembered cow logo.

This is obviously not the first time Lulu has catapulted its way into controversy and, surely, won’t be the last. However, this time I asked myself, have the Lulus gone too far? Have they finally alienated their base?

And the answer is, well, yes. Maybe. They always seem to have this magical ability to top their last controversy with their latest controversy.

But the more complete answer is: yes of course they went too far—and they went there on purpose.


Ever get the feeling that Lululemon is plotting all this controversy deliberately? They’re like this maniacal Bond villain. Or, more apt, they’re like that little kid, holding his finger about an inch away from your arm who, when you ask him to stop, chants “I’m not touching you, I’m not touching you.”

Ever get the feeling that Lululemon is catering to all the yoga rebels out there? You know, the ones (and I’m a yoga teacher, so I’m trying to say this with as much love and non-judgment as I can, because I do understand) who won’t stay for savasana, won’t turn off their phones or who interject their own poses into your carefully planned Vinyasa flow?

This is what occurred to me this morning as I was discussing the distastefulness of this last April Fool’s gag with one of my students. I realized I was giving Lululemon—a company I don’t usually talk about and don’t patronize—all this free publicity.

Hell, I’m doing it right now (but for a good cause; you know, calling them out on their crafty marketing).

See? It’s bloody brilliant.

So, here’s what I suggest. Let’s just ignore them (well, until they do something really crazy dangerous—although some would argue that they’ve already crossed that line).

Like that annoying little kid, they’ll soon get bored and go away.

Okay. Maybe they won’t go away. But maybe we could trick them into that silence game. You know, the one who can stay silent the longest wins?

Yeah, we’d win that one. We’re yogis. We’ve totally got this.

(But in case you missed the leather bit, here you go):



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Ed: Bryonie Wise

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