Lululemon: Selling Pants or Happiness?

by Cliff L

Lululemon is a Canadian clothing chain well known for their “feel good/look good” yoga gear. However, due to the opposing positions between what society perceives Lululemon to be, and what Lululemon perceives themselves as a brand to be, the purpose of this paper is to explore more subjective and personal accounts of how brands uses what Sara Ahmed calls the “promise of happiness” to sell goods. My research will primarily compose of analyzing qualitative information, and providing new insight through observational analysis on Lululemon’s official website. My analysis highlights that Lululemon does indeed sell their goods with the intentions of promising happiness towards their consumers. I reveal that Lululemon’s strategic use of sponsored ambassadors are designed to stimulate majority of western society’s false belief that purchasing a simple pair of yoga pants may indeed guarantee happiness.


Emotions, sentiments, and empty promises are all used as tactical marketing schemes to persuade consumers into buying their goods (Bagozzi 184). However, society has failed to realize the major impact of the role of emotions in marketing (Ming 239). Emotions are ‘’mental states of readiness that arises from appraisals of events or one’s own thoughts’’ (Bagozzi 184). Cognitive and internal processes of the human mind are influenced by a number of factors such as emotions (Buck 51). For this reason, major brands and firms in the 21st century strive to sell products through the “promise of happiness” (Ahmed 6). Ahmed defines “happiness” as a “function of promise, which directs us towards certain objects which then circulate as social goods” (3). My goal in this paper is to introduce how brands use the promise of happiness to sell goods, specifically how Lululemon uses the promise of happiness to sell their products.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Sara. “The Politics of Good Feeling.” Australian Journal of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies. 4.1 (2008): 1-18. Web. 1 August 2014.

Bagozzi, Richard P., Mahesh Gopinath, and Prashanth U. Nyer. “The Role of Emotions in Marketing.” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 27.2 (1999): 184-206. Web. 2 July 2014.

Berlant, Lauren. “Cruel Optimism.” American Studies 52.3 (2013): 79-80. Web. 2 August 2014.

Buck, Ross, Erika Anderson, Arjun Chaudhuri, and Ipshita Ray. “Emotion and Reason in Persuasion.” Journal of Business Research 57.6 (2004): 647-56. Web. 2 July 2014.

Crawford, Robert. “Healthism and the Medicalization of Everyday Life.” International Journal of Health Services 10.3 (1980): 365-88. Web. 20 July 2014.

Huang, Ming Hui. “The Theory of Emotions in Marketing.” Journal of Business and Psychology 16.2 (2001): n. pag. Web. 2 July 2014.

Lululemon. (2014). Lululemon Athletica. Retrieved July 15 2014, from

Stokes, Carlie Charlene. “Healthist Ideologies: The Case of Lululemon Athletica.” (2008): n. pag. Aug. 2008. Web. 14 July 2014.


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