lululemon depicts pandemic malaise with ‘Feel’

Who: lululemon with Droga5.

What: “Feel,” a new global campaign for the athleisurewear company built around the idea that the better you feel, the better you’ll perform.

When & Where: Described as lululemon’s largest, fully integrated global ad campaign to date, “Feel” launched on Aug. 10 across North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. In addition to its first-ever broadcast TV spots (running during NFL telecasts in select U.S. markets), it includes online video, organic social, in-store merchandising, influencer marketing and activations.

Why: The stated objective is to introduce the brand to “new and wider audiences,” including men, Gen Z consumers, and international markets, where lululemon is looking to quadruple revenue by 2023. It ties into the company’s efforts around wellness as a point of differentiation in the crowded activewear category. While its competitors tend to focus on what people do, lululemon says its focus is on how people feel.

How: The campaign kicked off last week with a moody anthem spot called “Being well is a journey.” The 60-second version presents a depiction of the isolation we’ve experienced over the past year-and-a-half, opening with a voiceover reading of the Oscar Wilde short story “The Selfish Giant,” which begins: “My own garden is my own garden, said the giant. So he built a high wall all around it.”

The accompanying imagery is a visual representation of the man living behind the figurative wall created by the pandemic, his days characterized by a sameness that leads to him feeling depressed and lethargic. The second half of the spot shows the man slowly coming back to life and re-integrating into society while training wearing lululemon apparel.

The hero spot is accompanied by product-specific spots focusing on how lululemon’s products make people feel, with the six-second spot for its ABC Pant called “Feel Space,” and a 15-second spot called “Feel Charge,” showing a man energized during workouts while wearing its License to Train shorts.

And we quote: “Feeling is everything—it sits at the intersection of your physical, mental and social wellbeing, and it’s at the heart of all we do and create at lululemon. Supporting our guests’ desire to feel their best in any moment, through the products we create and community connections we help build, is a shift that we believe consumers and the category will benefit from.” — Nikki Neuburger, chief brand officer, lululemon

Chris Powell