If you’ve been on social media lately, you may have seen the buzz surrounding Peloton’s recent advertisement, The Gift that Gives Back. The 30 second advertisement depicts a mother vlogging her year-long “fitness journey” with a Peloton bike after it was gifted to her by her husband. At the end of the video, the mother exclaims, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me!” It is revealed that the vlog was a thank you gift directed towards her husband.
The segment has faced overwhelmingly negative reception from viewers on social media who say it portrays a problematic male fantasy.
Shortly after the advertisement caught steam, Peloton’s controversial advertisement hit mainstream news and its stock dropped by 10%. Yet, despite the controversy, Peloton has kept the advertisement up. In a recent statement, Peloton recognized the backlash, but stopped short of issuing any statement of regret.
Surely Peloton is in the wrong here, and the only clear path forwards would be to pull the advertisement and issue an apology … Right?
Since airing last week, Peloton’s advertisement has been featured on all the major media outlets and has amassed over 2 million views on YouTube. Considering that Peloton’s Our Kind of Joy advertisement, which aired a week before its controversial counterpart, has only collected 22 thousand views, The Gift that Gives Back is gifting Peloton publicity that would normally cost them an arm and a leg.
With New Year’s resolution season just around the corner, the timing couldn’t be better. A holiday shopping boom in brand recognition could be explosive for Peloton’s sales – which says a lot, given that Peloton’s “basics package” runs a steep $2,245 price tag.
As one pundit said on Inside Edition, “If just one percent of [the two million viewers] went out and bought a Peloton, you’ve already made your money back. It’s incredible!”
Peloton’s marketing team is at a crossroads. At what point do sales and brand recognition take priority over brand sentiment? Peloton might be able to weather the publicity storm and come out on top, but if their sales fall short, their brand sentiment could be forever damaged for nothing.
For now, Peloton seems determined to stick by their guns, put the pedal to the metal and let their sales numbers guide the (bike) path forwards. Time will tell if it pays off…