Lululemon ft. Vice

May 22, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai

Practice of breath. Practice of meditation. Practice of letting go.

In its first foray into the global advertising arena, Lululemon is positing the bigger picture applications of yoga in life.

Together with Virtue, VICE’s in-house creative agency, the lifestyle-fitness brand is launching a global ad campaign called “This is Yoga”, meant to show how various individuals (from athletes to rappers) benefit from the practice.

What made us look is less about the output and more about the partnership that created it. We’ve got mixed feelings, but each side presents a valid point.

This is what captured our minutes this week.

Here’s why:

Side One: this campaign was a series of first that were pulled off really well.

Not only did Lululemon consider expanding its audience and reach in order to tell more worldly stories, but the brand also looked outside the agency model.

Cool!

It’s kind of common sense: a brand wants to launch an ad campaign. Unless it has an in-house team, said brand looks to agencies to do the work.

Now full disclosure, The Tite Report operates under The Tite Group, a content marketing agency in Toronto.

We’re not bashing the agency model since, hello, we’re an agency. While we try to do different work and hire different people, we’re still an agency. We know.

But it’s also important to look forward and see how and why brands are looking to do things differently.

That, to us, represents being aware. And being aware means we can more easily win the Battle for Time since we know where the opportunities to adapt are. In this case, it’s clear that Lululemon wanted a more global reach. Virtue has the ability to deliver on that.

Furthermore, Virtue is built upon the idea of consolidating a bunch of moving parts so that brands don’t have to deal with multiple different inputs for the content they are looking to create.

Put simply, this partnership made it easy for Lululemon to do wide-ranging content in a simple, efficient model.

Side Two: While the partnership is cool, the output is still relatively traditional.

We all know the type of content VICE caters to. Edgy. Raw. Profound. Definitely challenging.

The video is beautiful, the stories are well curated. There’s no question about it.

However, it all feels a bit like same ‘o, same ‘o.

The marketing and advertising world don’t need to disrupt the way creative is done behind a 90-second video. It is what it is, everyone will have their own way of doing things.

That said, any agency could have done this work.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “why does this matter?” It matters because in a world where the words “disruption” and “innovation” are dropped like sprinkles on a vanilla buttercream cake, there is a growing need to actually rise to the occasion instead of just saying we will.

As previously said, the work is beautiful!

However, given the fact that the brand actively sought out something that isn’t the typical agency we thought the output might match it.

Take a look at Vice’s heritage. It “launched under the shadiest possible circumstances in Montreal in 1996” and quickly became a global media operation that was no stranger to brand partnerships.

And Vice is great at it all. It’s relevant, generates reach and knows how to make an impact.

When Virtue Worldwide was launched in January of this year, Vice had its formal arm to tie together its numerous acquisitions that made up an ad agency. It aimed to give brands an option where they wouldn’t have to hire a range of agencies or freelancers.

This is a very creative way of doing things. Yet you can’t take leadership from the same establishment roles and then put it under a different-looking masthead expecting things to be different.

You actually have to achieve different things. We’re not sure that this ad campaign does that.

What do you think about Lululemon's first global campaign? Let us know if it's great or what you think it could have been at @TheTiteReport.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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