In a rapid response to what seems like a product-placement deal gone horribly wrong, video fitness company Peloton produced a positive digital TV commercial over the weekend regarding cycling and health -- an alternate ending to the new initial HBO Max episode, "And Just Like That."
It features Chris Noth, of HBO Max’s “And Just Like That,” and Jess King, a real-life Peloton instructor, who plays one in the show.
The character of Mr. Big -- played by Chris Noth -- collapses after a hard home ride on a Peloton bike in the initial episode of the “Sex and the City” spinoff series, released Thursday. He then dies in the arms of his wife, Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker.
The first two episodes of the series spurred a major social media firestorm. “Sex and the City” was a popular series that ran on HBO from 1998 to 2004. Plus, there were two “Sex and the City” movies, in 2008 and 2010.
On Friday, a day after the new series debuted two episodes, Peloton’s stock price sank 5.4% to $38.51 -- which some blamed on the show.
Year-to-date, the company’s stock is down 74%, which analysts say stems from safety issues of its running treadmills, as well as a slowing of overall business as COVID-19 restrictions ease and health clubs reopen.
The new commercial features Mr. Big, in character, in a seemingly upscale/living-room setting, talking about “new beginnings” with instructor Jess King:
“Shall we take another ride?” he asks, glancing back at two bikes, while the first movement of Beethoven’s "Moonlight Sonata" plays.
(In the original scene of Mr. Big’s demise, a video montage also shows Carrie and her friends watching Charlotte’s daughter in a recital, as the dramatic third movement of "Moonlight Sonata" is performed.
King responds with a facial expression that says something like: “Are you sure about this, considering what happened?” Mr. Big responds: “Life is too short not to.” Both laugh a bit.
This is followed by a lighthearted, but somewhat serious, voiceover from actor/producer, Ryan Reynolds, whose marketing company, Maximum Effort agency, created the video.
“And just like that. The world is reminded that regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscle, lowers resting pulse, reduces blood fat levels.” He then adds this: “He’s alive.”
While Peloton knew a Peloton bike would be used in the show (HBO bought the bike on its own) and approved instructor’s Jess King’s participation in the episode, it had no idea how both would be used in the episode, according to a company spokesperson.