In this episode, the guys chat about Peloton, an exercise equipment company that allows you to compete with others in the comfort of your own home and brag about it on your social media channels. Peloton launched an ad that wasn’t received very well, so we have to ask the question – is there really no such thing as bad publicity?The show starts off with the guys unpacking the infamous ad. Is it really that bad? If you just listen to the audio, you wouldn’t necessarily understand what all the backlash is about. Let’s break down the ad, for those of you who haven’t seen it. Here is a link to the ad:

  • The ad starts with a woman being led downstairs at Christmas, hands over eyes, to reveal her present… a Peloton stationary bike. 
  • The 30 second ad shows her nervously starting to use it for the first time, then getting more into it as she progresses. 
  • We see the instructors mention her on screen and see that she’s gotten over her trepidation, and is really getting into it. 
  • Eventually we see that not only are we watching these progress videos… she’s watching them, on the couch, with her husband, a year later. 
  • She has made this video montage, to show him how far she’s come. 
  • She says that “a year ago I didn’t realize how much this would change me.” and thanks him for “The Gift of Peloton”

The guys go on to discuss what the ad was trying to do/say and where it went wrong. It boils down to why the woman in the ad is so motivated by the input of others. It feels manufactured, like she’s done it out of duty and not gratitude

So what was the reaction to this ad? There were two different streams of criticism… that of it being frightening, and that of it being offensive. And perhaps the most important reaction… the brand’s stock dropped 9% ($942MM) in one day. Although the company says it was not linked to the ad, but to a sales lull following Black Friday that year, and it did quickly rebound to almost its previous level. 

Nearly six months later we can see that Peloton’s stock didn’t just drop that day, it continued to fall for another 3 months. For their part, Peloton says they stand behind the ad, and that despite the 9% single day drop in their stock price, the ad has not harmed the business. The guys mention how it’s admirable how the brand stood by the ad and didn’t back down once during all the negativity towards them. 

The guys end the show off by discussing lessons to be learned after dissecting this ad. They mention that Peloton failed this time because they forgot the fundamental rule of all communication and they created this ad in a bubble – they didn’t test to see how it would be perceived by its audience. Peloton may not have damaged their brand with their core consumers, who knows? But they certainly didn’t build their brand through this episode.

Enjoy the show!

We speak about:

  • [00:18] How many calories are burnt during a marathon
  • [01:43] Nico and Chad catching up on life in general
  • [03:44] Introduction to Peloton
  • [08:50] The infamous Peloton ad (“The gift of Peloton”) 
  • [13:41] What was Peloton trying to get across with the ad?
  • [16:26] Reaction to the ad 
  • [21:15] Free publicity – although negative
  • [27:20] “Who we are, who we are not” leaked document
  • [31:03] Lessons to be learned
  • [35:00] Podcast reviews



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