ShaktiFest Makes for Great Commerce

Two weeks ago, Kasey Luber, the lovely face of Big Happy Day, sent us her latest ShaktiFest recap video, sponsored by Coconut Bliss ice cream, knowing how much enjoyment we get out of seeing these sorts of things (thanks, Luber!). Now, all was well and good, and many laughs were had, until one particular Baba got a hold of said video and started asking some tough questions. Was the video actually a ShaktiFest promo video sponsored by Coconut Bliss ice cream, or was it simply a well-contrived commercial for Coconut Bliss ice cream using yoga festival culture as a medium of self-promotion?

Take a look:

First, let me say that Coconut Bliss is tasty as hellllllllllll, and so if you’re reading this, CB people, please donate a large case of the good good in our name (or anyone else’s) to any local juvenile “corrections facility” of your choosing, and make sure it goes to the kids, as well as the staff.

Now, “product placement.” According to, product placement is…

“An advertising technique used by companies to subtly promote their products through a non-traditional advertising technique, usually through appearances in film, television, or other media. Product placements are often initiated through an agreement between a product manufacturer and the media company in which the media company receives economic benefit. A company will often pay a fee to have their product used, displayed, or significantly featured in a movie or show.”

Typically, when we think of product placement it’s the well-placed MacBook that comes to mind…


…or that thing that’s gonna keep you from going bonkers while shipwrecked on a deserted island….


However, yoga videos such as the one above in many ways read more like an American Idol shakedown with its ubiquitous Coca-Cola cups…


…or even more so, a scene out of Talladega Nights….


This embrace of the product is, of course, simply the insipid succubus known as “conscious capitalism,” which posits that by using the capitalist model to foreground “better” products, we will somehow dig ourselves out of the mire created by capitalism itself, a naive idea pandered to on the daily on sites like Waylon Lewis’ Elephant Journal.

The video above is a prime example of this conscious capitalism model in practice, where a seemingly “healthier” product such as Coconut Bliss replaces an “unhealthy product like, say, McDonalds.

For example, there’s the killer intro…

Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 7.09.11 PM

…which contains many…

Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 7.09.24 PM


Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 7.09.34 PM


Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 10.37.57 AM

…many references to the product…

Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 7.09.44 PM

…ultimately ending with a mini-ad for a large corporate chain of questionable “health food” mega-stores….

Screen shot 2013-06-09 at 7.09.56 PM

Then there’s the money shot…

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 10.38.19 AM

The dancing magical hand…

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 10.38.37 AM

The appeal to moms and their children…

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 10.39.15 AM

And, of course, the “free” moment of Coconut Bliss “bhav”….

Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 10.40.18 AM

Then there’s the language used in the video, which by my count contains the word “bliss” repeated twenty-four times over the course of six minutes. This means that, on average, the word “bliss,” and therefore Coconut Bliss, was mentioned a total of four times a minute!

Compare that to, say, this promo video for the gem that is Bent Fest NYC, a yearly event celebrating and showcasing circuit bending, that f’ed up noise music made by messing with circuitry! Notice that there is almost no reference to sponsors, and no real product placement of any kind:

Yeah. That’s good stuff.

See, we all like a little free swag, but you don’t have to overdue it. I tell you, after watching that ShaktiFest video above, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to just drop it all and run away to whatever forest is hosting the next Rainbow Gathering. It may smell a bit more “robust,” but at least there ain’t any commercials.

Now that’s some muthafuckin’ bliss, baby. Stinky-ass cuddle-puddle plant medicine bliss.


  1. My fav parts were (a) stoned couple (b) shirtless old man and (c) the rapping couple (not kidding, thought this couple was cool).

    The repugnant self promotion at the beginning of that extended coconut bliss commercial wiped out any sense of real bliss that the ‘actors’ were trying to convey.

  2. amphibi1yogini

    Wait …, didn’t some yoga festival try crowd-funding instead of corporations, and their project bombed?

    As a film buff, I both love and abhor product placement in what otherwise should be untainted art … of course, there are products that add to the plotline and products that DO NOT~!

  3. Garuda

    What would you do for a Clondike Bar?

  4. Thaddeus

    That Rainbow video makes me want to punch things…like walls, the air, people…yeah, mostly people.

  5. jorge

    when i was doing my time in the clink(living in boulder, co), i swore i saw every single one of these people. if i dont ever have to see another dude wearing a vest with no shirt and his hair up in a dread bob, i’ll die happy
    so much bliss? no, so much kooky white people play time.

    the dude who shows up at 4:55 though made me smile pretty big.

    i’ll be taking the blissy bhav bhav of the black flag reunion(greg ginn and ron reyes version, please) this summer!!!

  6. What's This World Coming To?

    So much bliss and so little dairy. Amazing! Although there does seem to be a lot of stinky cheese.

  7. Linda

    The first video was repugnant. A bunch of rich white people wanting to play at sadhu.

    The second video reminded me of my old dorm at college. Good times.

  8. yogadas

    It’s about time you let Waylon Lewis have some treatment. His building of a personal and institutional yoga celebrity promotion empire is so behind-the-curtain manipulative it’s amazing and you almost never go there. Why?

    • Hmmm…. I’m not sure what you mean. First, I think Waylon’s EJ is pretty upfront about their excitement and endorsement of *anything* that gets people to do yoga, and that that very much includes providing a forum for yogilebrities to air their “advertorial” content. Though, I’m not sure where the “there” is that you are referring to when you say we hardly go “there.” Are you saying that we rarely poke fun/look at Waylon or EJ?

      • Kimmy J

        You should do a challenge on the Baba to see who can leave a critical comment on Elephant Journal and not have it deleted. The most deletes and blocks win.

        • Garuda

          Oh Hellyeah. Unfortunately Waylon has already blocked my entire URL…so…what do I win?…Oh yeah, that is a win.

      • yogadas

        “…a naive idea pandered to on the daily on sites like Waylon Lewis’ Elephant Journal.”
        That’s the “there.” Pandering accepted and encouraged. Truthfulness feared and loathed. And are you implying that I have missed some pokes at Waylon on your blog? It wouldn’t surprise me, since I’m an infrequent visitor here, and the only reason that I was able to needle you about “irregardless” was because that happened to have been a part of one of the few things I’ve read of yours. So you’ve taken some shots at Waylon? Your comment is confusing because you defend him and then ask if I’m saying that you defend him. But don’t get the wrong idea. For reasons I can explain if you’re interested, I don’t like Waylon, but I like you, B.

        • I think there is some miscommunication going on here. Perhaps you read my comment as sarcasm. T’was not intended to be. I was only asking if you thought we were going light on Waylon and in what way. Personally, I don’t really read EJ very much, so I may miss stuff. We typically respond to what people send us and the few things that I find on my own. But fear not, friendly reader! We have MUCH to say about W and EJ. Specifically Waylon’s embrace of consequentialism (ends justify the means), hyper-capitalism, and the so-called “conscious consumerism” he touts. Why not “search” at the bottom of the site and see some of what we’ve already said.

          As for “irregardless.” We love language and editing and proofreading and all that fun stuff (not that we have much time to employ it ’round here). So, anyone who finds errors or extreme license on our part in our text is a friend of ours!

          PS. Aghori B is working on a book that goes into some of the above in greater detail.

        • Horice

          The good writers leave once they realize what a sleazy operation ej is. What you have left is a vanity site for third rate writers.

          • amphibi1yogini

            I have always maintained it became in about late 2010, an electronic kula (sangha, community – pick your terminology) for both newbie and has-been yoga teachers and yoga therapists. Kind of an educated,more literate version of Yoganonymous. Why I renewed my subscription is beyond me ….

  9. Janks

    Which one of you freaks got Waylon blocked on Facebook? He’s whining about it on ej.

  10. The difficulty started early for me (among other moments), when the bhajan in the beginning became the ad “jingle” for the opening montage. Singing to Radha or CocoBliss here? Could you imagine a Christian Hymn being the background music for a popsicle commercial??? Just feel it and lick it.

  11. Garuda

    Every morning I rush downstairs to check my shiny, glowing rectangle to see what the daily blessing is from our beloved Babarrazzi. I didn’t realize what a reluctant Messiah we had in our midst.

  12. Yo, Babs, you best be speaking tongue in cheek when scolding your respondents about injustices such as Clondike and Shirtless Old Men.

    I’ve got MY lazy eye on YOU.

  13. the moment already came

    Slap a turkey leg and some corsets on those hobos, and swap out the slightly embarrassed Hari Bol’s for a huzzah, and you got yourself a real fine renaissance festival there.

  14. No one is going to make fun of me personally at all in these comments!??? You guys are no fun. Usually I don’t integrate the product but it just felt right this time. Who doesn’t love ICE CREAM!!! HARIBOL!!!!!

  15. Was the video actually a ShaktiFest promo video sponsored by Coconut Bliss ice cream, or was it simply a well-contrived commercial for Coconut Bliss ice cream using yoga festival culture as a medium of self-promotion?

    And to answer this question: YES!

    • amphibi1yogini

      You, my dear, are one shameless self-promoter, yoga-promoter, product placement-promoter and samadhi-killer rolled up into one cute, deceptively disarming package …

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