The Peloton bike commercialBy Tom Dougherty
9 December 2019
Why doesn’t the Peloton bike commercial work?
Nothing like the creepiest commercial since Burger King’s King to get social media going, eh? The Peloton bike commercial is making the social media rounds because of its creep factor in which, presumingly, a wife seems to be in complete terror throughout.
“I’ve been in hundreds of ad pitch meetings and how this one got through Peloton executives I’ll never know. I’ve seen execs and marketers pour over the most minor details in a concept or the spot itself, many times just so they could just hear their own voices. So, no one piped up that the Peloton bike commercial was a little…off?”
Two things. One, which we’ll get to later, is that the spot has generated some of the funniest memes and spoofs in years. Two, the commercial is, yes, misguided and largely misunderstood.
The Peloton bike commercial is misguided because it IS creepy. Her look of fear when first demonstrating her workout begs the question: What was the director thinking after seeing that? Think the director should’ve run another take? Given her different direction?
What makes the spookiness of the spot double down is the clincher. She was making the video for her husband, not for herself or to post on social media. The commercial ends with her showing the workout video to the one who gave her bike, like she was ordered to.
I’ve been in hundreds of ad pitch meetings and how this one got through Peloton executives I’ll never know. I’ve seen execs and marketers pour over the most minor details in a concept or the spot itself, many times just so they could just hear their own voices.
So, no one piped up that the Peloton bike commercial was a little…off?
The Peloton bike commercial and point of view
The spot is also misunderstood. At least by some. The outrage some groups spew at it is damn silly. It’s just an ad. Just an unusually ill-advised one.
But I’ve also seen marketers say the Peloton bike commercial is so creepy because the audience is put in place of the husband. That is, because that’s who the video is for, the spot’s developers have put audiences in the uncomfortable position of being the seemingly controlling husband.
But that’s not even remotely true. He’s barely even seen (and largely forgotten until the end). We emphasize with the woman, who doesn’t seem to be enjoying the experience. Point of view is a crucial consideration for any marketing endeavor, and most lack it.
In this case, there is a point of view: the wife. And we sympathize with her. We certainly don’t come way thinking, let’s buy a Peloton bike for Christmas.
The one good outcome to all of this is that, as I said before, the resulting comedy has been hilarious. My first thought upon seeing the Peloton bike commercial was that it looked like it could be adapted into a Black Mirror episode.
So it has.
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