The 2019 Peloton Holiday Ad

This 30 second spot garnered a huge reaction, backlash, and was deemed worthy of an apology by Peloton. Why?

Spend the 30 seconds to watch if you haven’t yet seen it

The 2019 Peloton Holiday ad opens with Tal Bachmann’s 1998 hit “She’s so High” and goes on to show the woman exclaim “a Peloton!” Then, in sort of an odd format, shows her internal dialogue and workouts in the style of social media stories. She then compiles the footage into a year long review she shows her, presumably, husband.

It’s a story that shows excitement about a gift, overcoming the nerves of starting something new, and how the discipline to continue down this path pays off with some sort of transformation for the new rider. That’s a classic formula. Nothing wrong with that, right?

Why then, would a media outlet like MarketWatch label the ad a ‘116 lb woman’s YEARLONG fitness journey to become a 112 lb woman?’ Absolutely nothing in the ad infers weight loss for the woman. They have since retitled their article after updating the piece with Peloton’s apology.

Twitter users similarly ripped the ad with many describing it as sexist and dystopian. As with all opinions on social media, the cascade of negativity triggered the opposite reaction causing some to defend the ad. Defenders view this one as no different from any other holiday commercial.

The background music and her excitement over “a Peloton!” play perfectly to human aspirations: have a significant other who views you as Aphrodite and to, as a family, have the disposable income to afford premium workout gear. This flows perfectly with the current zeitgeist of working out hard and self improvement. If you don’t get it, you’re not in the target market.

The apology from Peloton, emailed to CNBC, is a thinly veiled “WTF is wrong with you people” and rightfully so.

Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” a spokesperson said. “While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate

Unfortunately for Peloton, not all publicity is good publicity. Their stock price has taken the same beating as their PR team. Shares of $PTON are down 7% at the time of this writing.

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