Monday, December 21, 2009


This week's perspective from Orli Giroux Namian

Earlier this week,
Lululemon launched a new collection of athletic gear branded “Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 and 2011 Edition.” Suffice it to say, the Vancouver Olympic Committee’s (VANOC) officially-branded knickers are in a twist. Even though VANOC admitted that Lululemon was acting within the letter of the law, the Committee still had some stern words: “We expected better sportsmanship from a local Canadian company than to produce a clothing line that attempts to profit from the Games but doesn't support the Games or the success of the Canadian Olympic team.” Sure they were pushing the envelope, but Lululemon’s unveiling of its athletic apparel was done with the full knowledge that it hadn’t overtly broken any Olympic branding and marketing rules. “We went through a litany of things you cannot say and started throwing out a bunch of things we felt we could say that were respectful of the rules and regulations.” The brainstormers behind this clever campaign had no doubt anticipated the PR potential of a VANOC response to the provocatively branded gear. VANOC’s strong reaction was directly responsible for propelling the new gear into headline news, garnering the very best kind of marketing boost for Lululemon - the free kind. This is not to take anything away from VANOC and the important role it plays in protecting Olympic symbols and officially licensed gear that supports Canadian athletes and the Games. That said, VANOC would have been well advised to turn the other cheek because as Canadian women know already, nobody does cheek(s) like Lululemon. Touchdown.

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