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Lululemon Spoofs Yoga Barbie Doll, Sparks Customer Frenzy

in YD News

So Lululemon and their ever expanding desire to be on the edge of ironic hipster greatness, decided it might be funny to capitalize on the latest Yoga Teacher Barbie buzz with their own cheeky ad campaign. Via Facebook:

We’re so excited to announce the launch of our new Perfect Balance collection, inspired by our Silicone Valley yoga ambassador, Tiffani!

Her 1 year goals include mastering tree pose in high heels and travelling across the country in the convertible of her dreams

According to the video and Lulu’s VP of women’s design Deanne Schweitzer (who, the poor thing, looks like she’d been dragged into this by her luon underoos) they are SO EXCITED to “elevate the doll industry from mediocrity to greatness one pair of XXXS groove pants at a time.”

It’s clearly supposed to be a joke, granted an ill-timed and rather dumb joke, but the majority of outspoken customers/commenters are not impressed and have taken to expressing their disapproval over the ad, and so it seems, airing their frustrations over decreasing product quality.

Some comments via facebook:

Joan G : This is ridiculous. I love Lululemon but after issues with quality I am considering dropping it altogether, and now a campaign based around a doll? Are you kidding me?!! We are real people wanting real clothes made with quality. You are not sending the right message with this campaign to the younger audience since every woman is made unique and should not strive to be an impossible XXXS or barbie shaped! Get it together Lululemon or I am GONE!

Erin K: Wow. I am incredibly disappointed. Given that Barbie is anatomically incorrect when scaled to human size, why would Lululemon choose to promote its clothing on such a figure? As a healthy active woman, I have enough pressure and unrealistic expectations put on me from the media. Lululemon, you’ve really let me down.

Leslie C: I think it makes perfect sense that a technical clothing line with multiple quality issues begin to make technical clothing for dolls. They will not complain when their pants are see through, since they don’t sweat the dye bleeding won’t impact them, since they don’t workout or move for that matter the poor seam quality won’t impact them. Sounds like a great way to make more money and not have to deal with producing a quality product. Bravo Lululemon!

Michelle A: I’m 30 years old. I don’t want a lulu Barbie. I want athletic clothing that I can actually sweat in without it bleeding on to my hair and skin or other articles of clothing. Or how about crops that don’t unravel at the seams on the first wear? Or fit and color consistency? Is this why prices are increasing and quality decreasing? So you can outfit a doll?? People are catching on lulu, fix the problems with the brand and drop the lame ad attempts like this. You’re alienating your core customers and driving them to other brands.

And YouTube:

Is this a joke? How appalling. Plastic and barbie?? This message doesn’t even make sense nor is it designing for real people but a barbie named Tiffani?? Anyone else get this? The practice of yoga is take you out of the material world. What is Lulu Lemon doing on this platform??

-Tina Marie

so you’re going to make clothing for dolls, but won’t stock up on men’s core shorts? NICE MOVE!


Lululemon’s “Tess” has responded to the onslaught of comments on the facebook post and maintains that they had no intention to offend:

Hey Everyone,
We really appreciate all the conversation and feedback happening here. I want to clarify that this is absolutely not us poking fun or mocking our guests, but rather us taking part in a conversation currently happening in the yoga community. We believe in sparking conversation and it’s never our intention to offend or upset anyone. While we welcome and encourage dialogue and feedback, any posts that contain offensive language or personal attacks will be removed. Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and taking part in this conversation with us.

Well, sparking conversation definitely happened, but we’re not sure this was the response they had hoped for when dreaming up the idea in their goalsetting meeting of greatness, the lulus making yet another faux pas in a not so great string of blunders this past year. Can’t blame it on Chip Wilson this time.

Whether or not you think this is an atrocity or that people have overreacted, let us be optimistic and say we see this as a positive sign of increased awareness and sensitivity surrounding body image and conscious consumerism. Yeah?



42 comments… add one
  • That poor woman indeed, she looks miserable saying every word.

    • Shamanic_Rite

      That Vancouver accent that Deanne speaks with is second cousin to the Brit (stiff-upper-lip) style …

  • Stewart J. Lawrence

    Funny how a little girl-on-girl violence at one of your flagship stores can start you on a nice long karmic slide toward commercial oblivion?

    Don ‘t blame this on the Chipster. Like John Friend, he actually knew what he was doing — business-wise, at least.

    You can lay this squarely at the cervix of Christine Day. What do you expect from a Starbucks reject?

    Thanks Ladies. This is getting more entertaining by the month.
    High end yoga shoppers screaming for their money’s worth!

    LOL. Can’t want to see what’s next.

    • Wow. Harsh. No need to bring her cervix into it. I don’t even know what that sarcastic quip means. That she was what? Thinking with it? Weird comment. Seriously. And mixing John Friend and the Lululemon Barbie to insult Lulu’s choice of PR people, just weird.

    • Garuda

      If this is an actual issue, I believe the modern yogi \Yogin is paying attention to the wrong thing($)

    • Sam

      Stewart, your comments regarding the gender of these people are quite disturbing. Do you talk this way about males?

    • HY

      Stewart, do you have anything else to say apart from spewing out your misogyny whether it’s in any way relevant or not? Looks like you don’t even need any excuse these days to go on yet another cervix rant.

      • Stewart J. Lawrence

        Not a misogynist – just a polemicist. There’s a difference, you know. Just ask my wife, who is even more tired than I am of hearing this kind of hypocritical ranting against me from the assembled weenies in the yoga blogosphere. Grow up, people.

        I was probably inspired by the recent comments of the local state legislator who insisted on bringing her “vagina” into the public discourse over her state’s contraception law. I do think if you want to wave your genitalia in public discourse when you think it makes you and your cause look good, you should be prepared for it to happen when it doesn’t.

        The larger more serious issue here, though, is the need for a more incisive gender critique of corporate yoga. It’s very fashionable t take on Chip Wilson or John Friend, but not any of the major female figures who are far more pervasive purveyors of the same syndrome at this point.

        Women make 80% of the consumer purchasing decisions generally in our economy, and with women constituting such a high percentage of the yoga teacher/celebrity corps and the consumer base, that figure is easily 95% in yoga. If women didn’t shop to these things, there would be no yoga market. Women are literally driving the commercialization of yoga, and it’s high time that women who run blogs raise this issue, and examine this connection.

        Frankly, this is where feminism tends to be a total liability. When you’re so busy building up anyone without a penis as your “sister”, you often lose sight of the fact that a lot of them are dick-less pigs feeding in the very same trough the men always have?

        Offended? Too bad. Deal with it. It’s called reality.

        Wilson stepped down 7 months ago, and is merely a member of the Lulu board. The new CEO is Christine Day – she’s not just a PR flak, she is directing the company. It was on her watch that the decision to promote the John Galt bags was made and to initiate this absurd little counter-Barbie campaign.

        Funny, now that it’s Day leading the charge, I don’t see Yoga Dork talking about the company’s leadership now that Wilson’s no longer such a convenient target? Where’s the expose of such a proud and loud feminist like Day also being such a libertarian zombie?

        And speaking of Lulu-envy, when was the last time anyone asked Sean Corne about just how the clothes are made in the Philippines and other notorious sweatshop centers for the company Lucy Active Wear – the company that she flaks for? Much easier to portray her as the righteous crusader against HIV/AIDS elsewhere.

        I badgered Carol Horton about these issues and she finally had the temerity to ask her readres whether they thought that ther feminization of yoga and its crass commercialization went hand in hand. Dead silence. Of course, because you’d have t look at yourselves — and not just your cervixes.

        It’s really simple. Recognize your own gender blinders and have the courage to take them off. or don’t and continue to be ridiculed.

        By the way,m the same applies to issues around advertising in the yoga journals. These are women controlled magazines and women are making all these advertising purchasing decisions. It’s women putting skinny white girls on the cover, and having them take their clothes off. And I strongly suspect that a woman at Mattel designed Yoga Barbie

        But then again, women “selling” and “selling out” women? That’s hardly news. And it’s certainly not news at Yoga Dork.

        Jennilyn for one is oh so fond of attackiong Lulu or Anusara when the targh

        • Stewart J. Lawrence

          Again, these issues are really frigging obvious to people living outside the yoga bubble. Corporate capitalism is an equal opportunity exploiter, and for years, now, Big Business has used women’s “empowerment” language as a sales strategy and “empowered” female icons as a sales prop. In the old days we called the Elena Browers and Sean Cornes of the world “corporate sales models.” Sure, it’s the New Age version, but it functions just the same – even better than ever, because the target consumer demographic is s clearly upscale female. Really, guys, this is Marketing 101. Don’t you even realize that?

        • Sam

          Quite an angry diatribe you posted, eh?

          I don’t believe any posts should be censored (unless of course there is for e.g. a death threat) but I (and a few others) just wanted to call you out on your angry, sexist, and misogynistic post. Anger is fine but the way it is used is important. Insulting people will not win you any friends nor will it encourage constructive dialogue on the topic you are interested in.

          If you were so ticked off by some state legislator I suggest you take it up one on one with her. Write her a letter. Why do you take our your anger on all of womankind because of something one woman said? Take a look at the posts on this particular article. Do you see anyone using such language or such an approach as the state legislator? No, of course not. So cut it out.

          Your anger oozes off of the page. You may want to self-reflect on what is pushing your buttons and work through it. If you have particular issues with the editors and writers on particular sites such as YogaDork and Elephant Journal (I’ve seen your name on that one several times) then have a dialogue with them. Vomiting your disgust on other posters is not going to get you anywhere.

          BTW: I’m not a weenie, thank you. I have my own criticisms of yoga but I don’t take it out on others.

        • Bob

          We all know about women who marry misogynistic pigs like you, so don’t drag your wife into this. With someone like you who lives with his dick constantly up his own ass, I sure your masturbation posts keep your wife looking for a way out.

        • HY

          Oh what a diatribe. What kind a of a button must have got pushed for you to spew out so much? Can’t you see how you’re slipping into some dark waters with your cervix-dotted rants?

          FYI, I don’t care what gender Lulu’s board members are or have been. One either is a prick or they aren’t, it’s gender independent. I don’t support them whoever is at the helm. I don’t support YJ either, and FYI there is male/female mix in their leadership. YogaWorks is a man-led entity which is crassly commercial from the (re)start, and so what? Do you think it’s because of their gender?

          It’s you who should take your gender blinders off; with them on your critique is not only pointless, but also quite disturbing, as usual when people unravel online.

  • nancy

    Actually i see this as an opportunity to get young girls to dress their dolls in athletic wear and think about being healthy and working out….Barbie should have an organic store to shop in and a kitchen show on healthy cooking!!Barbie should have a workout Gym and her own lulu line!Bring her alive!!! The old school Barbie was always in a prom Queen dress…….BARBIE REBORN!!!! for the next 50 yrs!!!

    • Shamanic_Rite

      And since Barbie is doing her own home yoga practice (with help of the Yoga Fan, sold at rival Athleta stores and online), the Barbie world yoga industry shrinks down to doll-sized proportions, with parallels in the human counterpart($) of the industry, taking Lululemon with them …

  • I been wondering what was up with the see through yoga pants.

  • Yoga woman

    It’s a joke people.

  • kate

    Why is everyone surprised? Lululemon is an exploitative mega-corporation running on greed and false promises and they use whatever means necessary to make a buck. I once saw a “demonstration” in the front window of their shop of a woman on a stripper pole. Whatever. They lost my business a long time ago. I prefer Mountain Equipment Co-op. Keep it real, people.

  • honomann

    yoga. love. plastic.

    That just about sums it up for Lululemon. Maybe except for the yoga part.

  • Christine Dai

    Lululemon sucks. The quality is horrible and everything bleeds. They are going downhill and quite fast at this rate. Lululemon SUCKS!

  • Rosa in Salinas

    Wow, chill out yogis. And hey, remember who was instrumental in busting all the toys out in Toy Story 3, Ms. Barbie herself. As someone who played with many Barbies as a child as is OKAY, just take a deep breath and get on with it.

  • ooooh people (shakes head) you need to spend more time meditating if one picture of a lulu lemon wearing barbie can send you this far into a rage

    Love your blog YogaDork, you the best source for yoga news….even if it sometimes kills me a little bit

    • kate

      0ooh Sara, (laughing) expressing an opinion is not “being sent into a rage” . It’s fun! If Lulu can do it, so can the rest of us. Freedom 🙂

      • Shamanic_Rite

        Just healthy righteous indignation … not a rage (you would not want to see me in a real rage) … try it, you’ll like it …

        • Shamanic_Rite

          reply meant for Sara

  • honomann

    Rage is a pretty natural emotion when it comes to the exploitation of yoga for financial gain. It’s okay to rage, it’s just what you do with it.

    • Shamanic_Rite

      Couldn’t have said it better, except … JUMPING THE SHARK!

      Fonzie was never the last to do it … it is now a high art … not even high-concept (relatively harmless) could contain it …

    • Stewart J. Lawrence

      Just lie back and think of……India.

      • Garuda

        Hey Stu, Back the fu*k off. Until Eat Pray Love, they all looked to ‘Pretty Woman’ as a template. You know? A whore hoping for a rich guy to rescue their soul? So this is an upgrade? No?

        • Garuda

          Ilike to think of it as the Julia Roberts index. Making Cancer, corporate snitching, prostitution or a simple emotional meltdown leading to gluttony and self righteous absorbtion badges of honor, at least on celluloid.

  • Garuda

    Since ‘Eat Pray Love’ hit the shelves, the girly set has seen fit to adorn themselves in beads and ashes. Not to serve the soul…no no no, that would take effort and honesty. Instead, they wrap themselves in external validation and spandex as an affectation. Just the flavor of the month. Look, Madonna is doing it, so must I. Nothing authentic about it unless my peers approve, then,like a fart in the wind, or the next bobble that distracts the eye, she is gone, never once seeing clearly. Nama$te

    • folhaseca

      Why does everyone who practices yoga have to be a saint of authentic practice?

      • Shamanic_Rite

        We don’t.

        So, there is a comfort in being able to derive knowledge and pleasure from yoga in the park. The “old money” doing yoga in the park with me don’t need to wear Lulus to prove a point. I can’t afford to wear them.

        It’s when I venture to venues other than that park, that the situation changes.

        I resolve to ignore Lululemon wearers in my midst.

  • I think the the lulu campaign is kind o f funny, actually.

    I mean, come on, people. Back when I was single (and had long hair) – my personal yoga barbie days, pink top and all –

    I would have to LIE to men about what I did for a living to get them to take me seriously. All they saw otherwise, was yoga barbie.

    If you don’t laugh, you’d have to take an axe to people’s heads. Especially when walking past construction sites wearing your lulus.

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