Why Peloton’s Holiday Commercial was Actually a Huge Success

by Sean Boyce
holiday commercial

If you haven’t seen it yet, Peloton has recently released a new holiday commercial.  

If you do know about this commercial, then you also likely know about all the outrage from it – detailed here (rather hilariously) by Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah.  

What I’m going to talk about is how this commercial, despite the outrage, was actually a huge success for Peloton.  

What we are likely seeing here, is a stronger than typical (negative) reaction from people that are likely outside of the Peloton target market.  This is why the blowback from this commercial actually works in Peloton’s favor.  

If you haven’t seen the commercial, what happens is a woman and what appears to be her daughter come downstairs on Christmas morning to see a Peloton bike by the Christmas tree.  The bike is a gift from what appears to be her husband standing nearby. The woman shouts out “a Peloton!” as she is overwhelmed with joy. The rest of the commercial is her documenting her successful journey using the bike through social media and sharing that with her husband as a thank you.  

Now, let’s talk more about the response to this commercial.

The majority of the outrage has to do with the fact that the model used in the commercial appears to already be of a healthy weight.  Much of the commentary against the commercial is that she doesn’t need to lose a pound. These people are missing the point of the commercial and their product entirely.  So much so that Peloton is perfectly OK with it and standing by the commercial as demonstrated by the response from a company spokesperson below.

“While we’re disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by–and grateful for–the outpouring of support we’ve received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate.” -Peloton Company Spokesperson

From at least one perspective, it would appear that there has been a great response coming out in defense of Peloton regarding the outrage.  I did a quick analysis of the tweet from Peloton’s Twitter account sharing this commercial and it shows that the positive comments have gotten far more traction than the negative ones.  

What those that are outraged are missing is that weight loss is not the only reason people exercise.  There are millions of fitness enthusiasts that exercise for countless reasons ranging from improving their mental health to simply having fun.  

If you watch the commercial more closely, you can clearly see that she recognizes the Peloton product immediately and is overwhelmed with joy.  I would be too. The bike is awesome and costs thousands of dollars. The point is, she knows all about the product already and is likely a fitness enthusiast herself.  

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So why is my reaction and interpretation of this commercial different from those that are outraged?  It is because I fall squarely within the Peloton target market. This means their commercial hit the mark and was actually quite successful.

For years I’ve been an avid spin enthusiast and cyclist.  Years ago, I had a several month long stretch where nothing could possibly come between me and my spin class.  It was addicting in all the right ways and I was in fantastic shape at the time because of it. I probably didn’t look much different, but my level of fitness had risen considerably.

The reason why this commercial resonates in a positive way with me is because I’ve been there.  Not only have I been to many spin classes, but I’ve also used a Peloton bike and they are fantastic.  For those that haven’t, I would strongly encourage that you do so. The experience they are able to create for you really does make you feel like you are in the class with everyone else.  If you haven’t participated in a spin class before, this can be a really motivating and enjoyable experience for people. It certainly was for me.  

So what does all of this mean and what can we learn from it that could influence the positioning strategy for your product business?

Stay true to the positioning for your product that connects with your audience

If your product positioning is connecting with your target market then keep going because it is having the desired effect.  

Don’t worry if customers that are outside of your target market don’t ‘get it’.  They aren’t necessarily supposed to understand. Your product wasn’t built for them.  

Have you received some negative feedback about your product’s positioning?  I’ll like to help you evaluate it, email me at sean@nxtstep.io or visit me on the web at NxtStep

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