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Dumb comments hurt good companies? Learning from Lululemon December 22, 2013

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Want evidence that PR matters? Ask Lululemon’s executives. The women’s clothing line was quickly becoming a corporate giant, until it hit some snags in 2013. First, there was a problem when the company’s $100 yoga pants were discovered to be see through. The company issued a recall, but failed to really fix the problem. Second, company executive Chip Wilson issued a really dumb statement not long after the mini-crisis, claiming that the pants “don’t work for some women’s bodies. It’s really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time, how much they use it.” Wilson’s comment was perceived as blaming fat customers for their problems, and according to the company’s Chief Financial Officer John Currie, it “undoubtedly” hurt sales.”

How bad did Lululemon get hurt by this bad PR? The company recently announced that sales in its fourth quarter would be flat, and shares fell 11 percent after the news. According to The Huffington Post, one marketing research firm also found that women’s perception of the brand dipped four times in 2013, and leaves the company in a tough spot as the new year comes.

For more, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  How could Lululemon have dealt with its bad PR in a better way?

2.  What kind of message does Lululemon need to craft to win back consumers?

3.  What does the case study of Lululemon demonstrate about the importance of staying on message?

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