• Retail Dive

Lululemon launches first men-centered campaign

Dive Brief:

· Lululemon on Thursday launched its first global marketing campaign for men, dubbed "Strength To Be," according to an email sent to Retail Dive. The brand is also releasing its latest collection for men, including the ABC (Anti-Ball Crushing) Pant, and arrives at a time when more men than ever are shopping at the athleisure retailer.

· The campaign "celebrates the growing community of men living life as their true selves and representing their own definitions of masculinity and strength,” the company said, leveraging its current focus on mindful living.

· The effort includes a series of five short films about men from different walks of life.

Dive Insight:

To create the "Strength To Be" campaign, Lululemon surveyed more than 2,000 Americans to understand societal perceptions of masculinity and strength, the company told Retail Dive in an email.

Nearly a quarter (24%) said their idea of masculinity has changed in the last five years, and the research found that 44% of U.S. adults think society has become more open and accepting when it comes to its definition of what’s masculine, while 37% believe that society celebrates differences more than it did previously. Qualities associated with masculinity include "mindfulness" (24%) and sensitivity (26%). More than a third (35%) say that being "mentally strong" is one of the biggest pressures men face today.

"With our heritage in yoga and its core philosophy, we are uniquely positioned to play a role in this important and progressive topic," Lululemon Men’s Brand Director Karl Aaker said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. "In this campaign, we’re sharing the stories of five men who bring diverse perspectives to the idea of internal strength and self-awareness. While each of these stories is unique, they all perfectly capture the theme of the campaign, which is really about finding the confidence to be true to you."

Lululemon is besting its athleisure competitors in appealing to men, GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said in an email to Retail Dive earlier this month. "In successfully pivoting from being a women's brand to one that now appeals to both genders, Lululemon stands in marked contrast to Under Armour, which has seen only limited success in attracting women," Saunders said. "This augurs well for the future as we believe Lululemon has much more runway with male shoppers."

Sales of the brand's menswear grew 23% in its most recently completed second quarter. CEO Laurent Potdevin told analysts that the category is "still one of our best kept secrets," according to a transcript of the company’s conference call with analysts published by Seeking Alpha. Potdevin said Lululemon is focused on customer acquisition and "talking to men in unexpected ways through curated and targeted experiences."

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