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When It’s Time to Shift Gears

By now you may have seen or heard about the Peloton ad, “Grace in Boston,” which went viral. If you haven’t, a simple Google search will get you up to date. A loving husband surprises his already fit-looking wife with a Peloton bike for Christmas. She documents her yearlong workout journey, then thanks her husband by sharing the videotape of her transformation. 

Peloton received a lot of backlash (and its stock price temporarily dipped) because the ad was felt by many to be sexist and demeaning. Did Grace actually want the bike asked some? In response, Peloton issued a statement about how they “were disappointed in how some have misinterpreted the commercial.” 

Peloton has an opportunity to learn from this experience and create unquestionably clear and compelling messaging to:

Empower by solving a problem. Ads that demonstrate how the Peloton helps riders take control of their health and well-being in a variety of circumstances could be more powerful, for example enabling moms to squeeze in a workout when they get home from work or when their toddlers are taking a nap.

Speak to a lifestyle of wellness, not necessarily wealth. Social media comments referenced the unattainable lifestyle depicted in Peloton ads, with bikes shown in multi-million-dollar homes overlooking multi-million-dollar views. Recent ads showing riders in a range of different locations and circumstances are more relatable and widen the audience.

Be inclusive and diverse. Grace starts her journey young and fit, so the narrative isn’t as impactful. Peloton has other stories to tell, with leaderboards filled with 50, 60 and even some 70+ year-olds keeping up on their rides. Showing a wider array of Peloton riders makes the experience more accessible and allows more viewers to relate to what Peloton could do for them.  

Peloton’s stated mission is to use “technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves, anywhere, anytime.” By shifting gears with inspiring ads that speak to this mission statement, Peloton can get back on track.

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