advertising · cycling · fitness · motivation

A few short words about that peloton ad

That peloton ad has had its day and there’s not a lot new to add. I’m glad Monica Ruiz, the lead in the ad, is getting a chance to start over. And I learned a new descriptor, “sad eyebrows.”

Oh, did you miss it? Here’s the story. And here’s the ad itself.

Someone gets a peloton bike for Christmas

Is it a bad ad? Is it creepy? Is it more like a trailer for Black Mirror than an ad for a spin bike? Should you give your spouse exercise equipment for the holidays? Was she just a little too worried about what her husband thinks? Was she too thankful for the gift? I’m going to leave all those questions alone. But I was shocked by the number of commentators who focused in on the Peloton wife’s weight.

“Peloton’s viral ad captures a ‘116 lb woman’s YEARLONG fitness journey to becoming a 112 lb woman’” screamed commentators. See Marketwatch on the controversy.

So many of the complaints focused on the fact that she was already fit, by which they mean thin. This isn’t fair to fat but fit people. This isn’t fair to thin people who often aren’t encouraged to exercise because they’re thin even though you can be thin but very out of shape . See How equating being fat with being out of shape hurts thin people too.

Frankly I was relieved that it wasn’t an ad about a fat wife getting an exercise bike and her year long weight loss journey. Phew.

We need to break the connection between thinness and fitness. There was lots wrong with the ad but the fact that the gift receiver was already thin had nothing to do with it.

7 thoughts on “A few short words about that peloton ad

  1. There was a lot wrong but I don’t understand why so many people see giving fitness equipment as a a de facto request for someone to lose weight. I’ve given fitness-related gifts to people who enjoyed it and enjoyed receiving some as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right? I’m with you. I thought they nicely avoided the weight loss angle. I was still a bit worried because she looked afraid, not just excited. They could have made it clear she really wanted the bike.

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  2. Why I love the blog so much: “So many of the complaints focused on the fact that she was already fit, by which they mean thin. This isn’t fair to fat but fit people. This isn’t fair to thin people who often aren’t encouraged to exercise because they’re thin even though you can be thin but very out of shape . See How equating being fat with being out of shape hurts thin people too.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it could’ve been a good ad if they had tweaked a few things…mainly, it should have been made more obvious she wanted the peloton. But I agree with you that her thinness had nothing to do with it! There are plenty of reasons why people of all sizes might want to use exercise equipment, and it’s nice to see more fitness narratives that don’t revolve around weight loss.

    (Less relevant to this discussion, but I read an interesting twitter thread suggesting that the main problem with the ad was bad copywriting. The ad turns the viewer into the husband – i.e. the passive buyer of the product – rather than the user. It would have done better to set the woman up as the hero of the story. https://twitter.com/amyhoy/status/1202723256408535040 )

    Liked by 1 person

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