After the online pushback (that generated a vast amount of media coverage) you might think the folks at Peloton would be beating their creative team with bike chains for producing such a tone-deaf TV commercial.
But you would be wrong. Not only has the company not apologized, it has continued to run the spot and put out a statement defending it.
Among professional marketers, the trend seems to be slightly away from criticism to congratulations for creating incredibly high awareness just as most folks have started their holiday shopping.
Among jokesters, there has been nothing but derision for what many see as a totally unnecessary luxury item. This thread is about the funniest.
Peloton costs about $2,250 and $40 a month thereafter if you want to “attend” interactive classes on the 22-inch video screen over the handlebars. It seems to have a bit of a cult following -- although you can accomplish pretty much the same workout results in free classes at the nearest YMCA.
It's too early for history to judge whether the commercial was a huge mistake or unintentionally brilliant for putting the brand top of mind with potential buyers. But it does reaffirm the notion that ads don’t have to be widely liked by viewers to be effective.
Oscar Wilde wrote: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about,” and P. T. Barnum is credited with saying, “There's no such thing as bad publicity.” While we both know that is not absolutely true (see impeachment coverage), you simply cannot assume that criticism of an ad means it doesn’t do its job.
Often, the opposite is true. History is littered with ads that the public adored, but failed to lift awareness or drive sales, such as the Taco Bell chihuahua, the Energizer bunny, California Raisins, and Alka-Seltzer's "That's a spicy meat-a-ball!"
There are plenty of ads out there I really hate. But some of them have been running for a very long time (or a derivation on the same theme starring the same annoying characters), so I have to assume they are producing sales for their brands.
Long gone are the days that advertisers ran ads and wondered which half of them weren’t working. With today’s relatively sophisticated attribution, brands can find out in short order if their commercials are driving inquires, conversions, downloads or whatever is the desired ROI.
It remains to be seen whether the backlash against Peloton’s ad hurts the reputation of the company or creates something like an organized boycott. It seems there are lots of women who were NOT demeaned by the ad or who feel that the husband was NOT casting aspersions with the gift.
What did you think? Was the ad a big mistake or a huge win for Peloton?