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Lululemon Goes for Gold, Poaches Olympic Spirit With “Cheer”

in Business of Yoga, Public Display of Yoga, YD News

lululemon-cheer-gearThey call it “ambush” marketing… dun dun dunnn. With the 2010 Winter Olympics about kick off in Vancouver, naturally one would imagine the entire city is eagerly hoping to bank off all the surrounding hoopla. So exciting! But one biz in particular has caught major flack from pushing their “cheer” a bit too far. Yes, everyone’s favorite stretch-tasticly inflated yoga brand, Lululemon has once again caused some uncomfortable chafing. This time in their home town! VANOC (Vancouver Organizing Committee) and mega-honcho sponsors of the Winter Games are none too pleased with the lollies latest gear, which they claim rips off the official merchandise.

Lululemon, like many other non-sponsors of the Olympics, is marketing some designs that tread suspiciously close to the Vancouver 2010 theme — naming a line of T-shirts, hoodies and mittens in honour of Cool Sporting Event That Takes Place in British Columbia Between 2009 & 2011 — while cleverly skirting the marketing bylaws put in place by VANOC, Vancouver’s organizing committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Uh oh! We know it’s Canada, but there are rules to be followed! Though said rules and bylaws get a little murky when it comes to marketing, the penalties are quite clear, and hefty at that – “copyright infringement is a federal offence [sic] covered under the Canadian criminal code; penalties for indictable offences include fines of up to $1-million and imprisonment for a maximum of five years. VANOC also has the right to prosecute ambush marketers in civil court and seek damages.” yowch!

“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,” Bill Cooper, 2010’s director of commercial rights management, said when the line was released in mid-December.
Really lulus! Global sponsors like Coca-Cola, GE and McDonald’s pay major maple leaves (like 100 million) for the privilege of touting the official Vancouver Olympics colors. The nerve! (though no one has a copyright on the color red as far as we know). What can we say, Yoga just isn’t a big enough market anymore. Not yet anyway. Just wait until Bikram brings it to the Olympics in 2012!

[Montreal Gazzette]

EarlierCompetitive Yoga: Vicious or Vindicated? Ask Bikram

Yoga’s Path to the Olympics, Or Bikram’s Quest for Gold
Knockoffs Abound! Lululemon Fends Off Black Market Pirates

2 comments… add one

  • well, even though historically Lulu was a Canadian company, now the majority of it’s shares are American owned….
    and since none of their clothing are actually MADE in North America anymore, I guess Canadian “polite” rules don’t apply.

    so no surprises here, I have long stopped considering Lulu to be a Canadian or even “good” company.

  • Samantha

    Personally I LOVE the cheer gear! I just picked up the Black hoodie with GOLD Maple Leaf, and I think it’s an awesome tribute to team Canada. It does NOT infringe on VANOC. It’s like any other “Canada” apparel on the open marketplace, but this happens to have a Gold Maple Leaf on it, instead of a red one.

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