Commentary

Peloton Rides Out A Tweetstorm Of Negative Reactions To TV Spot

Ok, here's that Peloton ad featuring “Grace from Boston” that everybody’s dishing about:

“As you can see, ‘thumbs down’ outnumber ‘thumbs up’ by 15 to 1, and Peloton opted to have the comments turned off. That’s probably a good thing, considering the kind of backlash it was getting across Twitter,” writes Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch’s social-media editor.

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“So many questions! Why is she so terrified? What’s up with the Instagram story, and who’d want to review her year on the bike? How exactly did it change her? And that soundtrack?” he continues before offering up some embedded tweets that range from simple outrage to Eva Victor’s searing parody video.

Then there’s this storyboard concept from Jessica Huseman: “a peloton ad where the husband gives his wife a peleton and she sells it and has $2,000.”

Indeed, “Twitter users came out in droves to discuss the ad, mocking everything from its supposed message of a husband wanting his seemingly already fit wife to lose weight to her being ‘nervous’ about riding an indoor bike,” Jen Juneau writes  for People.

Not that everyone was negative.

tweet  by New York Times reporter Katie Rosman embedded in Juneau’s story reads: “My Twitter feed is really mad about the Peloton ad. My Facebook feed hasn't mentioned the Peloton ad. My Instagram feed wants a Peloton bike for Christmas.

“To this day, there has never been a filmed sequel to the 1993 masterpiece that is Disney’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas,’” writes  Alex Abad-Santos for Vox. “But now, modern society has been gifted a certain kind of nightmare before Christmas of its own: a commercial for the luxury stationary bike company Peloton that has the internet equal parts horrified and in horrific fits of laughter.”

Not that it’s Peloton’s first ride on this circuit.

“Past Peloton ads haven't inspired as much buzz as this one has, but critics have knocked  the privileged consumers they portray and market to,” CNN’s Scottie Andrew reminds us.

“In a thread, a Twitter user who uses the handle Clue Heywood poked fun at all the Peloton ads that take place in million-dollar homes with ‘panoramic living rooms' and ‘glass-enclosed zen gardens,’ starring thin women and men who don't sweat as much as they shimmer,” she writes.

Fast Company speculated that Peloton is ‘trolling’ us all with this 30-second spot, that the brand has weaponized its ‘lack of awareness’ into a marketing tool. It’s lit up online, and PTON stock rose almost 5% on Monday, though whether it’s convincing any of its critics to buy the bikes remains to be seen,” Andrews adds.

“Company cofounder Tom Cortese has cited Apple as a brand inspiration when it comes to user experience. That has apparently extended to Peloton’s brand marketing. In this case, the inspiration appears to be Apple’s famous ‘1984’ Super Bowl ad. Except here we’re not the runner with the hammer. In Peloton’s world, we’re the clone-like followers, zoned out and in complete compliance to our video master. Just swap the bald dudes in gray jumpsuits with wealthy Alpha Folk in an Architectural Digest-worthy setting,” writes Fast Company’s Jeff Beer.

“According to iSpot.tv, the ad first ran Nov. 4 and has run more than 6,800 times, accounting for an estimated $13.5 million in TV spending. The ad has 15- and 30-second versions running across networks including Fox, NBC and ESPN 2,” reports  CNBC’s Megan Graham.

“Peloton declined to make anyone available for an interview or provide a comment. Advertising agency Mekanism, which has worked with Peloton in the past, had another spot with the ‘Give the Gift of Peloton’ tagline on its website, but didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether it worked on this particular spot,” she adds.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly discussed  the spot with Graham. It went like this:

"Kelly: … So I've got to ask, isn't all PR good PR at the end of the day? Is this ultimately going to be good for Peloton?

Graham: You know, this is probably not going to hurt sales. They’ve had other ads that have done really well. And it’s not that bad. This is not an egregious thing that they’ve done.

Kelly: I mean, we're sitting here talking about it, which is...

Graham: Exactly.

Kelly: The kind of publicity that money can’t buy. And speaking of money, Peloton’s stock price is up."

That was Monday. The terrain got rougher yesterday -- as it did for most stocks in the wake of the President’s comments about a possible delay in a trade deal with China -- and Peloton was down 9.12%.

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