Shawn Maher

Is Peloton in a No-Spin Zone?

In this holiday ad cycle, nothing ground many people’s gears like the now-infamous Peloton ad. Bike puns aside, many you have seen the controversial Peloton advertisement at this point. And probably even the Ryan Reynolds spinoff ad used to sell his gin and make light of a heated topic. Unsurprisingly, this marketing morass made its way into our Monday trends discussion and, even less surprisingly, really got us talking. 

If you haven’t seen it, a husband surprises his wife with a Peloton for Christmas in a point-of-view shot. We then watch a montage of his wife as she documents her year using the Peloton.

Then, in a stroke of marketing genius (especially since it launched while the topic was still viral), the same woman who played the wife in the Peloton commercial appeared in an Aviation Gin commercial, guzzling gin martinis in a bar with her friends as they consoled her as if she was going through a particularly rough breakup. Hilarious! 

Some people saw a husband giving his wife a fitness gift that she never asked for, which isn’t as bad as buying her a vacuum or set of cookware. Nonetheless, giving your significant other unsolicited exercise equipment could be taken as less-than-positive.

On the other hand, it’s a really nice gift! Pelotons are amazing products that make working out, something that many of us dread, fun and inspiring. Not to mention that the equipment costs a pretty penny. 

Is it as bad as people make it out to be? Of course not! The internet is a great place for people to overreact and ascribe evil intentions to something that likely was just a marketing misstep. 

Is the backlash totally baseless? Of course not! While the woman who received the gift is the target audience, the problem is that she didn’t make the purchase…or even ask for it. Fitness is a personal journey that makes us feel empowered because it’s something we can control and a self-improvement quest that we undertake and conquer. We learned when working with Club Fitness on the “Right Fit for Every BODY” campaign, you should be able to embrace a healthy lifestyle on your terms and not out of a place of shame, but rather a place of taking control of your life. 

Unfortunately for the marketers behind Peloton, they made their misstep at the wrong time. Luckily for Peloton, between the lighthearted gin commercial and a fun Today Show appearance, we’re laughing at the whole thing. Peloton responded to the controversy (and the ensuing dip in sales) with a new campaign that centers around a more empowering theme with a goofy vibe and a Fugees soundtrack that reinforce the idea that you can start your fitness journey on your own terms. 

Because when you fall off a bike, you get right back on and start pedaling again.