The gift that keeps on giving? Peloton, the indoor bike start-up, decided to spice up this past holiday season by producing a commercial they thought would be a hit. However, this 30 second advertisement received some serious backlash and the message was skewed in all the wrong ways. The commercial begins with the wife walking down on Christmas morning. She exclaims, “A peloton?!” At this point it is unclear whether she is excited, scared or shocked. Thus begins her journey documenting her continuous rides. She records herself working out even if it’s 6 am when the idea of hopping on the bike is not the most ideal. Flash forward to a year later we find her and her spouse sitting on the couch watching her peloton vlogs and explaining how this has changed her life.
But why was this commercial so controversial? For starters, a large critique that many stormed to social media to rage about was the sexist aspect of it. People felt he bought it to have his already skinny wife keep the figure she has. Some believed that it was meant for her to lose weight. After-all who buys their in shape partner a $2,000 workout bike? Seems to some viewers that she already knows how to keep a healthy figure. A critique from Inc.com questions why Peloton didn’t choose a person who was overweight and wanted to make a lifestyle change. Viewers also went so far to compare the ad to Netflix’s modern tech satire “Black Mirror” meaning that this ad could be considered dystopian. People all around were taken back from this commercial and the underlying message they believed it was sending to their viewers. To a large population this husband was sexist and got his wife this piece of equipment not for her enjoyment, but for his satisfaction that she stays her slim self.
A NEW ERA
We are in an era of body positivity which is why this commercial was probably not handled well among a crowd of proud individuals. No matter what social platform you use there will constantly be ideas and influencers promoting “healthy bodies and a healthy lifestyle” as well as “women empowering women.” The idea that a man is giving this as a gift appalls some twitter users. A man named Seth Payne tweeted, “I’d ask that woman in the Peloton commercial to blink twice if she needs help, but her husband already botoxed her eyelids for her birthday.” This tweet exemplifies the assumed relationship that viewers have about this fictional couple on their TV’s. The idea that a woman needs to be in shape for their husband is out and everyone empowering each other no matter the size, shape, or color of the person is in.
At first when I viewed this commercial I was confused. I had to watch it again. On my third time watching I decided to look more in detail about articles that wrote up on it. I simply did not see the problem with it. I personally would have been thrilled to walk down and see a pricey new machine that I could claim my own. I think where the commercial began to go wrong was the reaction she had. Maybe had she acted more excited and less surprised the crowd would have been less harsh to judge. Although her videoing her workout journey and showing him a year later is weird in my opinion, I am not sure why people tend to look at the negative side. Perhaps she had an agenda to make working out a habit in the new year? Maybe she asked her husband to surprise her with something related to this goal? People on twitter and in the news assume that she was already fit but what if that is just her body shape and she never works out. People are so quick to judge a fictional ad and voice their opinion to the world. Once 1 person gets on the internet to exclaim this commercial is sexist then more people feel entitled to perhaps share what they think too. Although Peloton isn’t hurting on their sales they should probably be careful who they are going to offend when producing their future commercials.
Sources: New York Times, INC.com, The Cut, Peloton