If there is one winner this holiday season it’s Peloton, with the Peloton girl and the Peloton holiday ad. The lifestyle, fitness, subscription brand debuted in December a commercial that is making waves across the US featuring Grace from Boston, the wife who got a Peloton for Christmas.
My thesis is that Peloton will gain incredible amounts of free attention on social media during this Christmas gift giving cycle as social media warriors aim at the brand’s fakie social media ad. In it a wife receives a Peloton gift for Christmas, and we see the anxiety ridden year she has as she attempts to tackle this apparently life changing experience.
- The Peloton girl looks terrified in most of her selfie videos, like there’s some real bad stuff happening in the household that is not being addresses
- She’s a fit woman who isn’t comfortable exercising. I’m sure there are plenty fit women who don’t exercise, but I’m sure there are plenty more that are fit and workout a lot. Getting an exercise bike shouldn’t be so dramatic.
- People are referencing dystopian horrors in Black Mirror and Get Out to talk about privilege, racism, and abuse
What I think is happening here is that the “movie magic” isn’t working. The commercial looks like a fakie version of social media posts because it is fake. This is a similar effect to the uncanny valley from movies and TV shows where animation is incredible, but the characters have dead eyes, which we find incredibly distracting. The fakiness of the social media posts and the character exposes the aforementioned issues with the ad.
To improve I think Peloton has an opportunity to recreate this commercial with real models. Film them for a year. Help them lose weight with Peloton and a whole slew of safe methods. Film the selfies. Tell a heart warming story to viewers this time next year. The brand will have a beautiful and authentic story that was developed while at the same time really helping people. Lots of wins all around.
But alas, I think social media warriors are taking this whole thing a little far. The Peloton stock dropped 13%, losing almost $1B in value in the last week.
Here’s why I think the brand will come out on top. The video goes into a bit of detail about the situation surrounding the Peloton holiday ad, and there are three examples of brands that had some major PR gaffes. The stock drops, then it increases again, in some cases to new highs.
Burger King had an issue with the stock of its parent company Restaurant Brands International, after an employee at one of its restaurants found a rat scurrying around its hamburger buns. The stock dropped from a high of $65 around July, 2018 to a valley of $52.01 in December, 2018. A year later the stock increased to a high of $78.45, and is hovering around $65. So, some highs and lows, and a nice rebound.
In January of 2018 the clothing maker H&M got caught with a super racist depiction of an African American child wearing clothing with some untoward language. The stock, listed on the NASDAQ Noridic exchange at the time of the gaffe was hovering around $3.83, dropped to an all time low for 2018 to $2.26, and is currently at $3.99.
Finally, Facebook has been under continual pressure for data usage, with some going as far as to say that Facebook will be the undoing of our very democracy. Ok. Their PR issue came to a peak in early 2018 as news spread that data company Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data outside of the platform’s terms of service rules to influence the 2016 US election. The stock hovered around $185 in January, 2018, dropped to $157.20 on April 6th, 2018. The peak of the scandal came when Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress on April 10th, 2018.
Then, there’s an immediate spike in Facebook’s stock price to $186.99 on May 11th, popping an all time high on July 20th at $209.94. There were more valleys and peaks, and as of this writing Facebook stock is at $201.34.
Further, eMarketer shows that Facebook will be a $42B company in 2021 as advertising interest and consumer media consumption revolves around its properties: Facebook, Instagram, and What’s App.
Updated. The Peloton girl is named as Monica Ruiz, and Ryan Reynolds has saved her after a year of aggressive Peloton cycling with a new ad from Aviation Gin. This is a great adoption of the zeitgeist, and prime example of nimble marketing. Expect to see more from brands and the use of meme advertising.