In which Matt is cynical and I am shocked

November 19, 2011

I was walking down College Avenue, just about to cross Ashby when I saw a woman with a tote bag that said “Who is John Galt?”

And I stared.  I peeked a little closer at the bag and was surprised to see that it was a Lululemon bag.  Yoga and Ayn Rand seem to be strange bed fellows to me.  (Here’s a link to an NPR story about this… I’m so glad I’m not alone in finding this strange.)

So I went into the store and I asked.  What’s with the Ayn Rand quote?  The salesperson didn’t know much about it, just that it’s from a book that has a quote that the whole campaign is built upon… “to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness.” (In fact that’s a company slogan but the founder was heavily influenced by Ms. Rand.)  The salesperson and her manager did not know what book John Galt was a character in, nor did they know any of Ayn Rand’s philosophies.  They just knew that mediocrity is bad and John Galt was against mediocrity.

I tried to see if they could understand that there’s a bit more to the novel and Individualism than excelling.  But really, it isn’t their ad campaign.

I talked to Matt about it before getting home and doing some research.  He commented that most people who shop at Lululemon aren’t going to know what it means and aren’t going to look it up.  That it won’t lose them a lot of customers and if there is a scandal then it’s press and that can’t be bad.  I thought someone just didn’t really research the idea through but Matt thought it was planned.

Now that I’ve looked it up, I know that Matt was right.  Corporate headquarters knows exactly what they were doing.  And they believe it.

Who knew… Lululemon is the 1%.



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