Peloton’s Stocks Drop 10 Percent After Holiday Ad Sparks Backlash Over Sexism
Peloton’s latest advertisement for it’s $2,245 stationary bikes is sparking both outrage and satirical videos that mock the unlikely journey of a wife being happily surprised to receive exercise equipment from her husband for Christmas. “Ok, you ready,” the husband asks his wife, with one hand holding the hand of a young toddler and the other covering her eyes. “A Peloton!” she happily exclaims when she sees the exercise equipment. What ensues is a 25-second supercut of her ‘journey’ of waking up at 6 a.m. to leave her sleeping husband in bed while she rides her bike and ends with her telling the camera, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me. Thank you.” Later, we find out that the supercut video is one of her own making, meant to be a thank you gift to her husband for buying the elite stationary bike. When the video cuts, she turns to her husband on the couch, seeking his approval, as he rubs her back and laughs.
The Internet is breaking down every problematic aspect of the advertisement, down to the worried look on the 116-pound protagonist’s face as she says, “I’m a little nervous,” to the point that Peloton’s stock has actually fallen by 10 percent. The video has been viewed on YouTube 1.1 million times, liked just 978 times and disliked 7,200 times.
Problem #1: Misogyny. All the misogyny.
Peloton marketed their campaign as “The Gift That Keeps On Giving.” The montage of this thin woman telling her husband, “Alright, first ride. I’m a little nervous, but excited. Let’s do this,” has elicited a wide range of reactions. Some people are concerned about her performance of gratitude for a husband who, let us repeat, bought her a piece of exercise equipment for Christmas. Given that the woman’s gift to her husband the next year is a montage of her fitness journey, some are concerned that “the gift that keeps on giving,” is marketed toward husbands who want their wives to get fit for them. Last year, Peloton created a similar advert that depicts a husband buying his rail-thin wife a Peloton and called it “Get What You Give – Hers.”
Problem #2: Would there really be no emotional complexity to being surprised to receive exercise equipment from your life partner?
“Nothing says ‘maybe you should lose a few pounds’ like gifting your already rail-thin life partner a Peloton,” tweeted Siraj Hashmi (@SirajHashmi). “My husband got me a Peloton bike for Christmas! Nothing weird about that. You get me.” Twitter personality Eva Victor jokingly says in her own satirical remake of the advert. Victor hushes, “It’s 6 in the morning and my husband is still sleeping,” only to scream with rage about what kind of person buys their wife a stationary bike for Christmas. Eventually, she delivers the same line as the Peloton wife about how much the last year has changed her. “I didn’t realize how much this would change me. I want a divorce,” she smiles at the camera and offers her husband divorce papers. This is the far more likely response to that kind of gift.
Problem #3: Countless professionals signed off on this advertisement.
Twitter user Tobias Hirano (@tobihirano) works in advertising, which is what “makes the Peloton ad even funnier when you realize how much goes into this stupid shit. Like rounds of approvals on concept, script, storyboard, edit, color, graphics. Late nights, millions of dollars, entire jobs created for this ad!” he tweeted.
Problem #4: The demographics of Peloton’s upper management.
“The Peloton ad sucks, all Peloton ads suck…,” tweeted Mike Sington (@MikeSington), “but here’s my question: is there a single person of color than owns a Peloton bike? The whole company smacks of white privilege (skinny white privilege). I’ve got an idea- let’s take a peek at Peloton’s senior management team.” It’s no wonder why the company’s stock has fallen by nearly 10% percent today alone. “We all need to treasure the things that bring us together as a nation, as a people. Collectively hating on this Peloton ad is that thing,” tweeted Renee Klahr (@reneeklahr).
Meanwhile, Twitter user Vanessa Contreras (@VanessaL_Castro) is asking the question on all our minds: “Am I the only Latina that looks at the word #peloton and just thinks of the word pelota? 🎾🏀🏐 every. time.” Nope. No, you are not the only Latina, Vanessa. 🙋🏽♀️