Peloton and Lululemon are the latest in a long line of brand frenemies

 

By Sarah Bregel

Fitness giants Peloton and Lululemon are cuddling up closer than ever. On Thursday, they announced a five-year “strategic global partnership,” and it seems to come at the perfect time for both brands.

As part of the deal, Lululemon will stop making its $995 Fitness Mirror, which has been a sore spot for the company. Connected fitness has been struggling to recover post-COVID pandemic. Users seem to want more variety in their fitness content, especially when paying for pricey monthly subscriptions, in order to make large, expensive machines worth their weight. Lululemon will end Mirror hardware sales this year, and plans to make the app inaccessible to new users by the end of 2023. Instead, it will make Peloton classes available on Mirror, as well as on the Lululemon Studio app.

With the move, Peloton and Lululemon seem to have quashed their years-long feud, which began after a brief partnership in 2016 that only lasted one year. After their contract ended, Peloton ended up essentially selling its own version of Lululemon clothing, which Lululemon felt mimicked its styles a bit too closely. In 2021, the clothing company sent Peloton a cease-and-desist letter. A lawsuit over the “copycat” claims was settled last year.

As part of the new partnership, Peloton will end its fitness clothing private label. Instead, Lululemon will make Peloton-branded fitness clothing, which will be in stores starting October 11.

 

Shortly after the announcement, shares of Peloton soared 14% in premarket trading on Thursday—a clear sign that the Lululemon name matters a great deal when it comes to athletic wear.

Peloton and Lululemon’s deal is certainly not the first time we’ve seen feuding brands come together. Merck and Pfizer joined forces to work on groundbreaking cancer studies. Microsoft and Apple have worked together to make their respective technologies more user-friendly, much to everyone’s gratitude. Burger King even once tried to partner with McDonald’s for an epic Mc-Whopper-King-Sandwich (or something of the sort), but that plan took a spill.

Lululemon and Peloton’s new collab is just the latest partnership in a long line of frenemy reconciliations, and it seems that it’s shaping up to be bountiful. Maybe it’s not quite Zuckerberg and Musk coming together to make bank, but it’s good enough for now.

Fast Company

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