Business

Lululemon Founder And Wife Behind Fictional Video Of Man Living In Astor Place Cube

A YouTube video of a writer living in New York City’s Astor Place cube has been garnering attention. It was made by Whil, a venture started by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and wife Shannon Wilson.

“Man In A Cube,” the fictional account of a man living in New York City’s Astor Place cube

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People are buzzing about a brief YouTube video called “Man In A Cube,” which stars a writer named Dave who was “getting burnt out and overwhelmed by life in general,” and so moved into the cube sculpture at Astor Place in New York City two years ago. As it turns out, it’s a fictional — though compelling — account, and Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his wife Shannon Wilson are behind it.

Dave describes what his life in the Alamo sculpture was like, and towards the end, explains that he finally got out by discovering the 60-second “Whil” meditation technique. It ends with a shot of a flier with the Whil logo taped to a pole.

The Wilsons recently created Whil as a “content portal, online community, and lifestyle brand for professionals seeking new ways to embrace the chaos of everyday life and set achievable goals for themselves.” Some people have reposted the video or commented on it since it was posted two days ago saying it’s a Lululemon advertisement, but the brand doesn’t have a connection to Lululemon and doesn’t sell anything, the couple said in an e-mail to BuzzFeed. (In fact, there is a “Shop” tab on Whil’s website that leads to a page that says “But you already have everything you need.”)

“The ‘Man in a Cube’ video shows the extremes one person takes to escape digital overload,” the Wilsons wrote to BuzzFeed. “Shannon and I created ‘whil,’ a 60 second meditation, to encourage everyone to ‘power down,’ even for a minute, to deal with the noise in our world. This is a new venture of ours. No connection to Lululemon. Nothing for sale. Just good whil on our part.”

They said, however, that the writer in the video is not an actor and his name actually is Dave.

“Is the story real? That is something we’ll leave up for the viewers to decide,” they wrote.

A representative for the New York City Parks department named Phil told BuzzFeed that the cube is actually solid, so as convincing as the video might appear, it can’t possibly be true.

Chip Wilson is still the chairman of Lululemon, which he founded in 1998, and his wife Shannon Wilson formerly headed the company’s design team. He wrote a book called 40,000 Days and Then You’re Dead about starting the high-end yoga brand, which was introduced through the Whil website in May. (The entrance to the book’s website asks visitors to enter their birthdate and then flashes the number of days they have left.)

“In this era of social media, on top of email, on top of everything else, a new tool needs to be used to shut down, restart, and re-enter that busy world,” Chip Wilson says in a video on Whil’s website. “The people that are going to take on meditation, Whil meditation, one minute, 60 second, fast, fast, fast, they’re just gonna be more successful.”

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Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.
Contact this reporter at sapna.maheshwari@buzzfeed.com
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