On the comeback trail, Lululemon rolls out cheery holiday campaign

Lululemon’s brand was taking a beating this time last year. There was also the flap over its then-CEO Chip Wilson said, “Some women’s bodies just don’t actually work” for Lululemon clothing. (He resigned.) That came on the heels of the recall of yoga pants after it was revealed they reveal a bit too much of Lululemon customers. 2013 wasn’t the best of years.

This year has been better. The Canadian retailer has made a significant move to expand beyond the yoga mat with a new line of men’s clothing and is opening its first standalone men’s store in New York City this week. Its financials are beginning to look up again too, with the company’s net revenue increasing 13 percent after a significant fall last year. No surprise then that Lululemon has gone the cheery route with its “Give Presence” holiday campaign, which encourages customers to take time this season to be present for those they love and care about, in the midst of all the holiday chaos.

The campaign has a video that seeks to remind people of the importance of being present for their loved ones, and features well-known personalities such as top meditation expert Gabby Bernstein and professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce. The video has been viewed over 818,000 times since Nov. 18, and the campaign is being promoted across its social channels with the hashtag #givepresence.

The brand has also launched a microsite, which it envisions as a digital magazine. A part-blog, part-lookbook, on its homepage, the microsite will include content such as interviews with what Lululemon calls “elite ambassadors” as well as picture catalogs of its new winter products. Athlete and Instagram superstar Amanda Bisk, professional hockey player Andrew Ference and interdisciplinary artist Heather Hansen are a few names.

“Our goal is to inspire all of our global communities, both offline and online, to spread the message of #givepresence,” Jean-Marie Shields Boulanger, the brand vice president at Lululemon Athletica, told Digiday.

Each of Lululemon’s stores will also embody the spirit of the campaign, but it is left up to them to decide how. This could mean a store deciding to purchase a flight home for a guest who mentions they aren’t seeing their family this year or something as simple as offering coffee to guests on a cold day. The brand is also creating a set of complimentary unbranded greeting cards for each store in North America, which they can offer to their guests to help spread the message of #givepresence.

Lululemon has collaborated with three artists for its microsite, store windows, greeting cards and online channels. Additionally, it has also partnered with Felt— an app that transforms an e-card into a handwritten, physical card that is sent in the mail. As part of this partnership, the brand will be giving away a limited quantity of Felt cards to app users and its own customers alike.

“While we’re aware that several brands occupy the athletic wear space, #givepresence is unique to Lululemon and draws upon values that we’ve held true to as a brand since our inception,” Boulanger said.

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