Men's Activewear Hits its Stride - How Lululemon and Murmur Transformed the Game in Men's Sportswear

The Background

Low Brand Awareness Amongst Men

lululemon is one of the leading athletic apparel brands worldwide. They design activewear for anything and everything – and are widely considered the market leader in providing activewear for yoga. 

However, lululemon is predominantly known as a ‘female’ brand, with low awareness amongst Men. This opportunity for the brand became a key focus for 23/24.  

Objectives

Increase Unaided Awareness, Aided Awareness and Consideration Amongst Men

Brand Tracking metrics conducted quarterly by the lululemon Global team, revealed that while the brand had strong Unaided, Aided and Consideration metrics amongst females [numbers hidden for Confidentiality], the Australian male audience lagged far behind on the same metrics.

The primary objective that Murmur was tasked with, was developing a plan to drive an increase in “Unaided”, “Aided” and “Consideration” by 3ppt across each Awareness metric.

Our Solution

Build 'Brand Superiority'

To improve lululemon’s Brand Tracking metrics for Awareness and Consideration, our Media Strategy was focused on building ‘Brand Superiority’ in market against our competitors.

The tactics we employed to achieve our strategy was primarily to win share of voice in competitive and contested markets, use broadsheet publications to reach a national audience in targeted media, and leverage Ambassadors and existing affinity with our key audience.

lululemon’s target audience are ‘Balance Seekers’ – sweat lovers 18-49 who seek balance from the workout of life, yoga, running and training. The balance seeker looks for quality and feel, they are a premium customer that wants to feel and look good for movement and every day wear.

We reviewed media consumption habits of the lululemon Balance Seeker and overlaid their 36x national store locations to ensure media placements were focused on key markets.

Our Strategy

Our campaign focused on the male Balance Seeker – an audience of males who are frequent and high spenders on men’s fashion, interested in health and fitness.  We overlaid this audience with a particular focus on the geo locations around the brand’s shopfronts.

In order to win share of voice, we predominantly focused our Media activity in the Sydney & Melbourne markets reflecting the brands retail and community footprint, while also tapping into population density relevant geographically to both a retail and online presence.

As a premium activewear brand, it was important to focus on premium media placements.  We worked to deliver publisher partnerships with high value 1st party data, marquee outdoor large format, contextually relevant programmatic placements and integrated editorial content.

lululemon outdoor ads in Melbourne CBD
lululemon Men's Anthem video in Sydney Airport

Execution

High Impact, Premium Out of Home (OOH)

Due to the length of the campaign (which was to stretch over a 6 month period), maximising media efficiency was critically important.  So we worked with key Media Partners to reserve media upfront for the year allowing us to apply economies of scale thus maximising media value and enabled us to reserve contingency which was utilised when ‘out of the box’ or ‘distress’ opportunities arose.

Our initial planning focused on high impact, premium Out of Home (OOH) placements to drive reach and cement the campaign in market.

We supplemented these placements with digital channels to push the campaign messaging out to a wider national audience.

Media efficiency and efficacy through Programmatic and 1st Party Data was a top priority. 

 

Media Planning

Marquee and premium locations were paramount to drive Brand Superiority, so we invested in Premium CBD OOH placements in Sydney and Melbourne where high dwell times and foot traffic in close proximity to retail districts finds consumers in a shopping mindset.  

The air route between Sydney and Melbourne has long been one of the busiest in the world with more than 150 flights a day.  With our two key markets captured, layered with the high socio-demographic of airport travellers, we included premium OOH placements to dramatically increase reach.

Given the nature of lululemon’s key ambassador (Max Gawn) and his relationship with the AFL audience, we wanted to tap into the AFL Grand Finals across premium SVOD placements with Foxtel during the most watched sport events in Australia annually.

Due to the campaign length, ongoing performance and creative optimisation were critical to achieve an improvement in awareness and consideration metrics. 

Understanding the importance of vertical video in short and micro formats which is the preferred format consumed by Balance Seekers, we extended our reach to publisher socials & programmatic video. This was integrated with shopping centre marketing during key shopping moments such as holidays, Thursday nights, weekends, and peak seasonal events such as Fathers day.

In order to aid creative impact, brand recall, and sustain audience attention, we worked closely with the lululemon internal Creative & Production teams to deliver numerous creative masters built for different stages of the campaign, that were able to be optimised digitally based on performance, and refreshed to align with media placements.

We partnered with our programmatic partner Stackadapt to design a custom built ‘hotspot’ ad unit for display, where users can click a variety of products within the creative assets to see more information on the product staying in the Ad Unit environment improving engagement.  This format became our top performing creative by reach, with a CTR of 0.28 – more than 2.5x the industry average for display.

The Results

Historical Results in Men's Brand Awareness

lululemon achieved historical high results across all Mens Brand Tracking metrics, prompting their Global Team to use the work and campaigns from Murmur and lululemon as a benchmark and global standard.

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Increase in Unaided Awareness
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Increase in Unaided Awareness
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Increase in Unaided Awareness

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