Commentary

Grading Your Fitness Workout Via TV Ads: F#cking Tough - Or Something Easier?

How tough does your favorite fitness app think you are?

Many media consumers are devoted and committed to staying healthy -- and that includes specific fitness activities.

But what if a heavy-duty marketing message pushed you to do more, in a rough-and-tumble sort of way?

Soul Cycle, a spinning and fitness company with studio locations around the U.S., has a new plain-speaking campaign: “F#ck It. Let's Ride”.

Over the past two years or so, spinning classes, in person and/or virtual, continue to grow, largely due to major cycling purveyor Peloton --- especially during the pandemic. Some consumers might view fitness as a chore. Others revel in it.

Soul Cycle's message suggests the latter -- with an edge, as it targets consumers looking to get back to in-person spinning classes.

One video advertising spot set the stage -- a dark room, with driving music, and serious looking spinners, sweating heavily. Ramping up one's toughest, serious indoor exercise seems to offer a safe way to get to hardcore status. At the same time, there are plenty of fitness-related TV commercials out there showing people on stationary bikes spinning easily.

In other lighter and funnier spots, you can see people working out nicely on bikes, sometimes with lots of sweat flowing.

Think Soul Cycle is offering a contrary view to the all-encompassing Peloton -- which seems to want to pull in all types of fitness consumers -- the easy, the devoted, and the supercharged? Not exactly.

One recent TV ad message, part of Peloton's current “Motivation That Moves You” campaign, moved into the hard stage of things where Peloton instructors, in somewhat locker-room coach motivational mode setting, pushed hard: “We are built to do hard things”; “I want you to feel alive today”; and “You are tougher.”

For its part, Soul Cycle on its site has these messages: “We're not going to apologize for riding. We've done our time -- there will be no half measures.”
And then there's this: “Let's get back out there.”

Out there -- meaning actual bicycling riding in the streets? Oh no. Heaven forbid!

Still, if some real motivation is needed, the biggest bike race -- and most intense three-week cycling fitness event in the world to some, the Tour de France -- starts tomorrow (Friday) on NBCU’s Peacock and USA Network.

Then you can imagine chasing down the breakaway, rocketing up a climb, or perhaps bumping your opponent to get into a good position as you fly at 35 miles a hour into a high level sprint finish.

In other words, what would real cycling do for you?

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