Michael Phelps Subconscious Warm-Up Parka

During the Olympics I wrote of Speedo’s overwhelming dominance at the event despite a minor goggle malfunction. Through the brand’s connection to historic champion Michael Phelps and successes of other swimmers wearing their signature LZR suit, Speedo gained a lot of valuable exposure and interest in their clearly superior suit.

This month, Speedo started taking preorders for the $550 consumer version of the LZR. There’s no word yet on how many orders they have received so far, but the white parkas are flying off the shelves. You know the big white robe-like coat that Michael Phelps wore before and after races? The parkas were never intended for retail but were quickly rushed to production after a large consumer demand.

To add an interesting twist into the mix Rob Walker, in the NY Times, explores the motivation behind someone who actually purchases one of these parkas and then the subliminal affects it can produce.

It’s not as if the material you wrap yourself in before and after a race can affect your performance, right? Walker cites a recent research study conducted at Duke University to imply that it very well could.

Walker states,

Thus he suggests even a Speedo jacket might actually have a functional payoff — but only when you stop thinking about it. “The trick is, the first time you wore the warm-up parka,” it wouldn’t have any effect, he says. “Because you’d realize, Oh I’m being ridiculous.” Wear it often enough, though, and you’ll probably stop ruminating about it. “Below the level of conscious awareness, you’d put the jacket on, and what’s activated in your mind is maybe Michael Phelps going very fast,” he continues. “And those things could actually kick up your motivation to go faster.”