For years, I’ve been training my children to regard advertisements as lies. “They’re just trying to trick you,” I tell them. They don’t see quite as many as we used to, thanks to streaming, but despite streaming’s workarounds and their fealty to my teachings, they still occasionally fall prey to a slick ad. But even they know those new Peloton ads are bullshit. And so does everyone else.
Peloton makes indoor exercise bikes with built-in TV screens so you can experience the joys of having a personal trainer yell at you from the comfort of your own home. The company has already been widely mocked for their commercials featuring their $2000 bikes being situated in luxurious, impractical locations inside enormous, impractical homes, and now their latest ad is being trashed all across social media.
Love putting my Peloton bike in the most striking area of my ultra-modern $3 million house
— Clue Heywood (@ClueHeywood) January 28, 2019
In the commercial, it’s before dawn on Christmas morning, and the camera moves through a house as a voice can be heard admonishing someone for thinking Christmas was a day off of exerc– wait, I’m sorry, it’s a different Christmas Peloton ad that is causing the uproar. That’s the other Peloton ad I hate. at least that one isn’t sexist, it’s just obnoxious as all get-out.
The ad in question features a young, obviously thin and clearly fit woman waking up on Christmas morning to learn that her beloved husband has gifted her the high-end exercise bike because she could still afford to lose a couple of pounds? The ad goes on to show the subservient wife’s gratefulness for her husband’s gift, and for the motivation he’s provided her towards improving her life by getting into shape.
“5 days in a row, can you believe it?” As a matter of fact, I can believe it, because it’s blatantly obvious that you work out ALL the time! I mean, you have a child and you’re thinner than the guy who got cursed by a gypsy in that movie.
As the ad continues, she documents her journey with the bike on social media, and then shows her husband a video diary she made of her experience with the Peloton, telling him she “didn’t realize how much this would change [her].” Over the course of the thirty-second ad, she has gone from being ridiculously model-thin to being ridiculously model-thin, slightly more sweaty, and even more subservient to her smug, silent husband.
Check it out:
Blessed be the fruit!
The backlash, decrying the ad as sexist – guys, don’t buy your girl an exercise machine -and promoting unhealthy body image, was swift and intense. Some reports suggest the company’s stock price fell as much as 10%, and a piece on Unilad claims they lost $942 million in one day!
As you might have guessed, the social media takes have been brutal.
The only way to enjoy that Peloton ad is to think of it as the first minute of an episode of Black Mirror
— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) December 2, 2019
Clue Haywood, the Twitter user who made his name mocking the company’s last ad campaign, even felt obligated to chime in:
Look I don’t want to be “The Peloton Ad Guy” anymore but the newest commercial about the vlogging 116 lb woman’s YEARLONG fitness journey to becoming a 112 lb woman who says “I didn’t realize how much this would change me” is just ri-god-damn-diculous. Come on.
— Clue Heywood (@ClueHeywood) November 25, 2019
It’s clear that the commercial, intended to promote a “wellness and fitness journey” didn’t quite hit the mark. And it’s safe to say that the general holiday vibe wasn’t what most viewers took away.
A Peloton ad has made clear
Just what it can do in a year.
The Pelaton wife
Has a beautiful life
And a general aura of fear.
— Limericking (@Limericking) December 3, 2019
Comedian Eva Victor gets the last word with her note-perfect rendition of how such a gift would really go down:
when my husband gets me a Peleton for Christmas …….. pic.twitter.com/Z2d3ewMhPu
— Eva Victor (@evaandheriud) December 2, 2019