Peloton Bikes Through Ad Competition

Viewers can't get away from a Peloton TV commercial. But maybe some of those ads really are pushing Peloton.

Peloton TV commercial recently popped up on CNBC, which was immediately followed by a NordicTrack TV commercial. It touted virtually the same digital-connected TV fitness experience, a big TV screen connected to an expensive new $2,000 bike.

In the old days of national TV buying -- and even today -- media agency executives would be outraged that ads for virtually the same product/service, run back to back, could create confusion for consumers.

But in the age of increased media fractionalization and heighten concerns of frequency, we have particular TV moments where the viewer takes notice. For all the wrong reasons.

Specifically, there was one man on a bike, furiously pedaling away with intensity (in the Peloton ad) and then a woman and a man, in separate scenes, doing the same in the NordicTrack commercial.



Two different TV commercials were selling the same idea: an at-home bike spinning class, via a subscription video service. (What gave it a tiny twist? The guy in the NordicTrack ad had his bike flexing as he pushed for higher power levels. Not so with Peloton.)

Riding a bike indoors to a digital subscription-connected fitness service might be all the rage. More competitors are coming, including a another company, called Echelon.

Peloton, NordicTrack and Echelon all made appearances on the floor at the recent Consumer Electronics Show. Peloton’s at-home digital-connected bike is priced at $2,245, while NordicTrack is at $1,999 and Echelon is $1,599.

Which company wins out? Peloton has had an obvious head start — with one analyst estimating it could grow to a 4 million video subscriber level soon. And Peloton is moving on, already airing other TV messaging around fitness, including Peloton Treadmill and Peloton workouts.

NordicTrack and Echelon will look to respond.

And, by the way, if you were wondering about the name Echelon, it is similar to Peloton name.

Echelon, in a road bike race, is where riders line up diagonally across the road; a rider behind another rider looks to negate oncoming crosswinds. 

What is a Peloton? That is a mass group of 100 to 200 riders, looking like a big oval/rectangle shape overhead. Here, a rider in the group -- drafting behind many riders -- saves about 30% to 40% of one’s energy.

In TV advertising, it is the opposite: Being in front of a commercial pod, put you in a better position.

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