Your superpower: it’s not what you think

Lululemon Athletica, a Canadian athletic apparel company, has a slogan on its shopping bags: “The world is changing at such a rapid rate that waiting to implement changes will leave you 2 steps behind. DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW.”

Before we talk about the slogan, a word about the shopping bags: they are light, durable, recyclable.  In Manhattan, everywhere you turn, a woman is carrying one.  Lulu has managed to turn the fashion capital’s female population into walking sandwich boards. How did Lulu do this? By rejecting the traditional wisdom that (1) conventional advertising is essential, and (2) shopping bags are thrown away and thus need to be as cheap as possible.

Lululemon is also quick to drop anything that is not working. Example: shopping bags with “WHO IS JOHN GALT?”  Customers were either baffled or offended.  Another slogan — “Name your superpower” — made more of a hit, but soon became passé.

Lululemon is less than 15 years old, and has grown exponentially, seemingly coming out of nowhere.  It is NOT headed toward zombification.

Lululemon’s secret to avoiding zombification not “naming its superpowers” – it has none. It has made its share of mistakes.

The clue to Lulu’s apparent “zombification resistance” is found by way of comparison to the latest zombies: camera film manufacturers, yellow pages, regional newspapers.  None of them have done anything non-traditional, much less innovative or controversial.  They all saw the world was changing and that changes needed to be implemented, but they chose not to”DO IT NOW.”

Lululemon reads its own shopping bags.

What does this mean for restructuring professionals?

We don’t have superpowers.

We have ordinary powers.

Each of us has all of them.

“Super-powers” are solutions that are ordinary and perhaps even obvious, but are utilized in new ways.


In two weeks: More ways to avoid zombification.

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