Lululemon shifts its perspective for first global campaign

The brand aims to "get off the mat" by bringing the philosophy of yoga to other walks of life.


Lululemon has debuted its first global campaign, tapping people from all walks of life to show how the values at the core of yoga are relevant to whatever you want to do in the world.

“This Is Yoga” focuses on how the principles of yoga – like self-discovery, discipline and trust – can help people find success in other areas of their lives. In addition to a two-minute anthem video, the concept is proven out in a series of short, documentary-style videos that zero in on each of these principles by spotlighting people who made names for themselves outside of the yoga world. The individuals in the series include athletes (Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, professional surfer Maddie Peterson, Capoeira instructor Jian Pablico), musicians (DJ/rapper/producer P Money, Beijing punk band drummer Atom) and artists (visual artist CJ Hendry, dance group House of Apocalypstic).

“We feel strongly that there’s a cultural moment right now around living with intention, purpose and meaning,” says Duke Stump, EVP of brand and community at Lululemon. “Yoga can be an incredible means to that end.”

The campaign was developed with Virtue, Vice’s in-house creative agency that was launched globally earlier this year.

The online documentaries will be supported with digital ads, in-store materials and out-of-home launching next week in Toronto, Vancouver as well as in markets across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

In addition to being Lululemon’s first global brand campaign, it is also one of its first on mass channels, having previously relied heavily on experiential and community engagement events. Stump says that formed the “bedrock” of Lululemon’s marketing activity and have been successful, but the company saw an opportunity to bring the shared values at the core of both yoga and the Lululemon brand to a wider range of people who want to live with a sense of purpose and meaning.

“Yoga has been at our core for the last 20 years,” he says. “But we also recognize that externally, we’ve only had one lens on yoga, which has been on the mat. We felt there was an opportunity to honour yoga from a wider perspective and see the full beauty of what that philosophy can bring.”

Lululemon was a driving force behind the growth of the “athleisure” category, but today faces competition from established and new brands alike making entries into the space. Most of those brands have positioned their products as more of a general activewear and athletic apparel, so focusing exclusively on yoga in way that shows its wider relevance seems to be a way for Lululemon to both differentiate itself and maintain a broad message. However, Stump says the campaign is less about differentiation and more about clarifying what the Lululemon brand stands for and its place in the world.

“It’s about – independent of competition or trends – what our sense of the emerging future is and what does this moment need that we are uniquely qualified to deliver,” Stump says. “We feel strongly that we, through both a pipeline of continued product innovation and now a strong emotional connection, can be more relevant than we’ve ever been.”

Over the course of the year the campaign has been in development, Lululemon and Virtue have identified a handful of mindset targets that the campaign speaks to and are relevant on a global scale, including people interested in the pursuit of self, holistic health and global empathy and responsibility. Being a global campaign that needs to reach a wide range of people is also part of the reason for showing a diverse array of subjects.

“It’s about taking yoga off the mat, but at the same time showing the real breadth of the soul of yoga in a way that is aspirational and inclusive, so it feels inviting and accessible,” Stump says. “To do that, we had to make sure we weren’t just talking to ourselves. We wanted to make sure it was global, but also a more inclusive vision of what the world really looks like.”