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Peloton's Holiday Ad Prompts Cries Of Sexism And Body Shaming

12 hours ago
Originally published on December 3, 2019 7:38 pm
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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Now to an ad that has been causing quite the stir in the last week.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As husband) OK, you ready?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As wife) Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As husband) Now.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As wife) A Peloton?

KELLY: A Peloton - that would be a Peloton exercise bike. It is a stationary bike, and it costs well over $2,000. The ad features a husband giving his wife one for the holidays and then the wife proceeding to take a series of selfie videos on the bike.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As wife) All right, first ride. I'm a little nervous but excited. Let's do this.

KELLY: And then finally, by the end of the year, husband and wife are shown cuddling on the couch, watching her fitness odyssey compilation.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As wife) A year ago, I didn't realize how much this would change me. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As narrator) This holiday, give the gift of Peloton.

KELLY: Yeah. Well, Twitter has had a treasure trove of responses, and here to dig through them with us is Megan Graham. She is a reporter for CNBC.

Welcome.

MEGAN GRAHAM: Thanks, Mary Louise.

KELLY: Talk me through some of the prize responses you have seen.

GRAHAM: Oh, boy, there have been so many different issues with this ad. I think the funny one is the sort of fitness odyssey that she's been on. She looks exactly the same. She looks...

KELLY: She's slim and gorgeous at the start...

GRAHAM: Right.

KELLY: ...And the finish, yeah.

GRAHAM: And then the other part is just this dynamic between her and her husband. Is he trying to encourage her to exercise more? And also, she just seems to be kind of seeking his approval, and she's so nervous for her first ride. And then just there's this whole sort of luxury dynamic where people are just making fun of the fact that Peloton ads are kind of famous and notorious for showing the bike in just, like, a very fancy room in a very fancy house and...

KELLY: It is a very fancy bike (laughter).

GRAHAM: It is.

KELLY: As we mentioned, it costs more than $2,000.

GRAHAM: It's true. But people kind of just are saying this just solidifies this idea that they're trying to sell to very wealthy people.

KELLY: Now, this ad actually came out a month ago. It has been playing during NFL games. It didn't go viral until just recently. Twitter caught on. It's now trending everywhere. So I've got to ask, isn't all PR good PR at the end of the day? Is this ultimately going to be good for Peloton?

GRAHAM: You know, this is probably not going to hurt sales. They've had other ads that have done really well. And it's not that bad. This is not an egregious thing that they've done.

KELLY: I mean, we're sitting here talking about it, which is...

GRAHAM: Exactly.

KELLY: ...The kind the kind of publicity that money can't buy. And speaking of money, Peloton's stock price is up.

GRAHAM: As of yesterday, they had hit their 52-week high. And I say 52-week. They've only been public since September. Today they are back down.

KELLY: I have to ask. Have you ridden one? And are you tempted by this ad? Did it work on you? Might you add it to your shopping list for the holidays?

GRAHAM: Well, yeah, not that I could afford $2,000 right away. But, you know, even if my parent company, Comcast, NBCUniversal, wasn't an investor, I'd probably like to own one if I could.

KELLY: They are fun. I have tried them. That is Megan Graham. She covers advertising and marketing for CNBC.

Thanks very much.

GRAHAM: Thank you, Mary Louise.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHE'S SO HIGH")

TAL BACHMAN: (Singing) 'Cause she's so high, high above me. She's so lovely. She's so... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.