Why Millions Watched The Goop Lab with Gwyneth Paltrow: Inside a $250 Million Lifestyle Brand
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’re contrarians. We go against the grain. Just because the experts say it, doesn’t make it so. In fact, we love second opinions and varied medical advice. This partly explains our fascination with Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Lab, a 6-part docuseries available on Netflix.
The episodes stir our imagination and curiosity with a nod to our self-indulgence while stroking our desire for voyeurism.
All in the pursuit of wellness.
Ever put needles in your face to gain more energy? You’ll love vampire facials. Want to know more about the increased acceptance of “magic mushrooms” to combat health challenges? Time for you to binge-watch.
And who among us would not want to get a peek inside the $250 million lifestyle brand that is The Goop Empire?
Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, global spa manager or C-suite executive there are business lessons to be gained. The Goop brand pulls traffic.
Linda Harding-Bond, global spa consultant said, “Her addition of celebrated perfumer Douglas Little’s candle ‘This Smells Like My Vagina’ has seemingly touched a nerve across all areas of social media.
Amidst the jokes about tuna and sardines, the candle has sold out (at $79 per) and has an extensive wait-list.
How many times has your retail inventory turned over in the past 30 days?
When was the last time you had a hot product? After all, you don’t necessarily need millions of followers like Gwyneth to have retail success,” added Linda.
Goop is no stranger to controversy. And of course, not everyone was impressed. I’m looking at you, Martha Stewart.
“I’m sure it sold out,” Stewart said to Andy Cohen of the $75 product. “She does that kind of irritatingly — she’s trying to zhuzh up the public to listen to her and that’s great. Let her do her thing.” – Martha Stewart
The Beauty Chef’s Glow powder is also stocked on the Goop website. The $65 additive is the ‘go-to supplement’ for the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle.
It contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and probiotics, as well as amino acids and essential fatty acids including chia, green tea, and sunflower seeds.
The Goop Lab on Netflix
Since its launch in January millions of people have watched The Goop Lab on Netflix. The reviews range from “magical” to “garbage”.
But as a famous boxer once said, “Half the crowd came to see me win, half to see me lose. Meanwhile, the arena was sold out.”
Infomercials and advertorials are so old-school. To deliver effective marketing messages today they must be wrapped in content.
The Goop Lab docu-series manages to connect education, eCommerce, offline marketing, celebrity marketing, streaming video, and social media. It brings consumer engagement to a new level by serving a variety of content in multiple formats.
According to YouGov ratings data, 90 percent of America has heard of Paltrow and nearly half (49%) have a positive opinion.
Some say GP flaunts her privilege and the Goop site exploits buyers with overpriced products. Loyalists rave about the benefits of the lifestyle and develop passionate support for the products.
“Just started The Goop Lab and it is EVERYTHING! So real, so raw and so relatable! Bravo” - from IG
Authenticity is enduring. Paltrow has long followed an alternative approach to self-care focused on living a happier and healthier life.
More on that later…
Goop has been criticized for questionable wellness claims, including the use of jade and quartz “eggs” for vaginal health. In 2018, the company agreed to pay $145,000 in civil penalties in a California settlement because such claims were ruled “unsubstantiated” read a posting on WebMD.
This is the red meat that brings out the medical community…
Some of the experiences of the show go further than medical research can support. Consider Episode 4, where “Gwyneth Paltrow claims she shaved 1.7 years off her biological clock by changing her diet.”
“There is no basis for blood tests supposedly revealing a reduction of biological age by 1.7 years. This part is all made up and not based on any nutritional science whatsoever,” said Dr. Caroline Apovian.
She’s a professor of medicine in endocrinology, diabetes, nutrition and weight management at Boston University School of Medicine.
Viewers need to keep in mind, as the disclaimer states “the show constitutes entertainment, not medical advice.”
“The vast majority of what we write about is very much part of accepted medicine and science. We’re not actually that edgy, people give us credit for being more out there than we are, but we’ll take it!” – Elise Loehnen, Co-Host and Chief Content Officer
She’s not necessarily discovering new things but she’s bringing ancient things into the mainstream. Back in the day when she began, yoga, cupping, and acupuncture were insane. Now it’s everywhere and is often recommended by completely conventional doctors.
The Goop Lab viewership and social buzz tell me it is about more than pseudoscience and emotional manipulation.
[dropcap]In[/dropcap] America, the health care system is full of disparities. Treatment varies based on your insurance, economic class, race, and gender. The Goop Lab delivers a way for viewers to take more control of their health.
Women supporters say the show can help the medical industry to believe them when they complain about certain symptoms rather than dismissing them as hysterical. Collectively they can draw more attention to the health issues that matter.
We are in the digital age and have tools to make information more accessible faster. For wellness, this means challenging many of the traditional gatekeepers. The Goop Lab’s curious and non-judging approach fills a void for the audience.
Path to The Goop Lab
In 1994 GP films Jefferson in Paris. While on the set she started her tradition of asking crews for their favorite local cafes and restaurants. She continues this practice over the years and develops lists of the best places to visit and shares them with inquiring friends.
In 2008 the first goop newsletter is sent to 10,377 subscribers. Readers get recipes for Banana-Nut Muffins, Turkey Ragu and a blast of curated content Paltrow has personally chosen that reflects her self-care lifestyle.
By 2011 Paltrow’s subscriber list has grown to 400,000. In addition, her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter makes the New York Times bestseller list.
In today’s media-driven, a niche-oriented world that seed of interest can turn into millions of viewers. How can you super-serve your audience?
The gluten-free market alone is projected to reach $23.9 billion this year.
From “wellness tourism” to alternative medicine, healthy eating and yoga, the world of wellness has been on the rise for the past decade. In 2018 this huge and global industry was valued at $4.2 trillion according to the Global Wellness Institute.
For Gwyneth Paltrow what started as a newsletter, morphed into a wellness company. The Netflix docu-series expand the brand further. In spite of naysayers, The Goop Empire is rolling. Since last year the brand has more than doubled revenues.
“Gwyneth has played this role her entire life, in the sense that she’s gone first and been mocked, but then people realize you’re kind of onto something, there’s a pattern recognition.” - Elise Loehnen, Chief Content Officer
With 6.9 million Instagram followers Gwyneth works all of the celebrity influencer angles.
Audience Demographics - Fans of Goop
It should come as no surprise that nearly 60% of the goop.com audience is women. But men also are not strangers to the community, clocking in at 42% according to YouGov research.
The Goop Lab demographic is potentially large while also being niche. Gen X and Boomers make up the majority of the audience, and these segments are influential and attractive since they are online and spend money. They also are likely to Netflix and chill so the mashup here makes a lot of sense.
Since Netflix does not reveal specific viewer numbers we can’t firmly gauge the audience size. Top viewed shows have generated 65-million plus views.
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]arketing goes beyond borders. A viewer can stream Netflix in the US or internationally and then visit the eCommerce store to make a purchase. The Goop sales funnel is pretty expansive and the brand is leaving clues to model.
The key is to surround the target audience and offer them multiple ways to engage, find value and make purchases.
With The Goop Lab the brand is gaining organic reach. Since the viewer is streaming on a mobile device or television there is a wealth of digital data at its disposal for paid advertising and remarketing.
The brand also has a hugely popular podcast that allows it to bring guests and multi-purpose the content. To bridge to offline engagement Goop has introduced pop-up stores that can potentially become permanent locations.
Leading with education the company made a foray into live conferences with a $1000 registration. Last year in Los Angeles the company hosted the sixth sold-out cohort of In Goop Health, the popular offline summit series.
In January, the company announced it would be taking its own step towards the tourism industry with a debut cruise. The intent is to take “luxury travel to the next level”.
Given the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen if this plan is adjusted.
Which Wellness Challenges May Lead to Being Featured in The Goop Lab?
I examined some of the health topics covered in The Goop Lab docuseries from a digital marketing perspective (see the table below). The monthly search volume on Google for many of the topics reveals why millions of people are streaming.
There is veganism with 450,000 searches per month. Consider MDMA which has 400,000 searches per month. Cancer clocks in with 550,000 monthly searches. When you multiply the CPC (cost-per-click) by the number of searches you get a sense of the ad value.
The last column shows activity out of 100 and if trending up (+) or down (-) at currently.
Table by Visualizer
Health Topics in The Goop Lab
Self-care: any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Energy healing: focuses on the life force that flows through all and seeks to remove blocks that restrict self-healing.
Cold therapy (also known as cryotherapy): works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon
Trauma: the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel the full range of emotions and experiences.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event - either experiencing it or witnessing it.
Psychedelic therapy: therapeutic practices involving psychedelic drugs, oftentimes utilizing serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, mescaline, and 2C-B.
Psilocybin (magic mushrooms): a hallucinogenic substance people ingest from certain types of mushrooms that grow in regions of Europe, South America, Mexico, and the U.S.
MDMA (3–4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine): popular nickname Molly/Ecstasy a synthetic, psychoactive drug with a chemical structure similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline.
The intervention of fate: the development of events beyond a person’s control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.
Cognitive decline (also cognitive impairment): when a person has trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life, Ranges from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to the more serious stage of dementia.
Fasting: the willful refrainment or abstaining from eating for a period of time.
Veganism: the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals.
Pescatarian diet: someone who chooses to eat a vegetarian diet, but who also eats fish and other seafood
Nutrition: the study of nutrients in food, how the body uses them, and the relationship between diet, health, and disease
Anorexia: an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight, food restriction, fear of gaining weight, and a strong desire to be thin.
Weight management: techniques and underlying physiological processes that contribute to a person’s ability to attain and maintain a certain weight
Losing weight: reducing total body mass, body fat and improving metabolism
Burning fat: using exercise and diet to help the body decrease its fat percentage
Reducing cholesterol: high cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. You can lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise your “good” HDL cholesterol with diet changes.
Heart disease: the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S. The term refers to issues, deformities and covers any disorder of the heart. Unlike a cardiovascular disease, which describes problems with the blood vessels and circulatory system.
Diabetes: a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Cancer: a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body.
Endocrinology: concerned with the study of the endocrine system, which is the system that controls hormones and glands.
The goop mindset is…
“We operate from a place of curiosity and nonjudgment, and we start hard conversations, crack open taboos, and look for connection and resonance everywhere we can find it.”
Topics covered in the episodes
The Goop Lab on Netflix consists of 6 episodes and each is 30-minutes in duration. A perfect binge size for most of us. Get ready to explore sexual wellness, MDMA’s, psychic mediums and cold therapy among other topics. Remember the series is designed to entertain and inform - not provide medical advice or replace your primary physician. Bring your wits and intelligence along before you press play.
Episode 1: The Healing Trip
The first episode brings the topic of psychedelics as treatments to the table. The interest in this area is surging. There are 410,000 Google searches per month on MDMA. People are looking beyond recreational use and want therapeutic treatment for anorexia, depression, trauma, and other challenges. Gwyneth Paltrow and Elise Loehnen chat it up with some industry experts. Then a group of co-workers travels to Jamaica for the experimental part of the lab.
Episode 2: Cold Comfort
In this episode, we meet Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman”. Dude made quite a reputation by branding his own method to use cold exposure for changing people’s lives. A big part of his story is also breathing techniques which can help you overcome a variety of health challenges. Whether you want to try his techniques or not there is some science to support his claims. In the lab part of the episode, goop staffers venture to Lake Tahoe, California to do some cold therapy.
Episode 3: The Pleasure Is Ours
Let’s talk about women’s sexuality, please. Betty Dodson, a pioneering sex educator, and Carlin Ross, her business partner drop beats on getting to know your body. Get ready for some masturbation tips and video of women reaching orgasmic bliss. GP doesn’t shy away from as she and Loehnen discuss why they decided to air the clips of actual women’s vulvas instead of representations. It’s time for equal sexual representation and the audience gets to share the pleasure.
Episode 4: The Health-Span Plan
Valter Longo is the director of the University of Southern California Longevity Institute. Morgan Levine is an assistant professor of pathology at Yale University. In this episode, the focus becomes “biological age” and how it can be adjusted through diet. We did say controversy, right? Three diets including vegan, pescatarian, and Longo’s signature Fasting Mimicking Diet are compared and put to the test. Who will be able to roll back the hands of time? if they impact how we age, too.
Episode 5: The Energy Experience
Energy healing is huge across Asia and other parts of the world. Practitioners focus on changing the vibrational frequency and energy that is moving through the body. In this episode John Amaral, an energy healer shares some of his methods and tactics. During the Lab part, which is an energy session with three Goopers, he moves his hands over the participant’s bodies and seeks to remove blockages in their system. Results vary from exorcism to not so much.
Episode 6: Are You Intuit?
You can’t have an entertaining health docuseries without bringing on a spiritual reader. This episode turns to psychic medium Laura Lynne Jackson. In the Lab portion, she does readings for Goop staff including channeling deceased love ones. You gotta love how the Goop Lab is not afraid of controversy or bound by traditional or narrow views. Watch the show and use your own sense of judgment. Not everything can be proven by science or medicine.
The questions Goop circles and pushes are…
What do we know? And then more importantly, what do we NOT know?
And how do we all come back to this place of feeling that we can be authorities over our own health and our wellness?
And get educated and go to our doctors with good questions and have conversations about our own health?
Goop Social Profiles and Branding
Website: goop https://goop.com/
Apple Podcast https://goop.com/the-goop-podcast/
The Goop Lab on Netflix: https://goop.com/the-goop-lab-netflix/
Podcast Episodes to Fave
Get to know GP better? Start with Oprah, Brené Brown, and Dax Shepard.
Understand the planet? Listen to Zach Bush
Want to understand loneliness and trauma? Listen to Will Siu.
Want to understand psychedelics? Listen to Rick Doblin
Want to understand sexuality? Listen to Peggy Orenstein
Gwyneth Paltrow, Co-host
Elise Loehnen, Co-host, Chief Content Officer
Wendy Lauria, VP of Marketing & Brand Partnerships of goop
LEXI, Staff Accountant
Jenny, Photo Editor
Kate Wolfson, Executive Editor
Megan O’Neill, Senior Beauty Editor
David Le, Research Scientist
SARA, Product Development Associate
Brian, Associate Solutions Architect
SARAH, Associate Editor
HEAVEN, Associate Product Manager
DWI, Business Intelligence Analyst
CAITLIN, Food Editor
KELLY, Director of Private Clients
NATE, TechOps Manager
SHAUN, SVP/General Manager Fashion and Home
RENEE, Art Director of Beauty and Wellness
Meet The Experts
Wim Hof, Founder of the Wim Hof Method
Betty Dodson, Ph.D., Author and Sexologist
Morgan Levine, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pathology
Will Siu, MD, Psychiatrist
John Amaral, DC, Somatic Energy Practitioner
Isabella Frappier, Pleasure Teacher
Apostolos Lekkos, DO, Functional Medicine Doctor
Mark Hayden, MSW, Executive Director of MAPS Canada
Carlin Ross, President of the Betty Dodson Foundation
Laura Lynne Jackson, Psychic Medium
Julie Beischel, Ph.D., CoFounder and Director of Research at the Windbridge Research Center
Valter Longo, Ph.D., Professor of Gerontology and Biological Sciences
“Gwyneth always says the basic tenets of wellness are free and accessible for most people: clean water, eating vegetables, walking, stretching which no one really wants to hear, you kind of want it to be packaged.”
Having a streaming show on Netflix hits the bulls-eye for the target audience of Gen-Xers, Boomers, and women. The star power of GP and the content strategy of education further fuel the brand’s competitive advantage.
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]illions of viewers are attracted based on the strategic marketing approach. By using information and education (and some controversy) the Goop brand generates buzz and backlinks to their website and eCommerce store. They build an email list, gain earned media and re-purpose content across multiple social platforms. The team uses the full array of content types including images, video, audio, and text.
Over to You
What did you find surprising about The Goop Lab approach to attracting millions? Which strategies will you apply to your business? Share your comments below. And if you enjoyed the article share it as well.