If you’ve not seen it, heres a link to the new Peloton commercial. Or the best I could find since they have re-edited it due to the backlash.
I’m not sure what they were going for with this ad, but this is how I see it.
A husband buys his Yoga instructor wife a Peloton bike for Christmas. Maybe she wanted one, it’s hard to tell, but the expression on her face seems to indicate she did not. She records her workout through-out the year including one morning where it appears her husband wakes her up to do her work-out, which she than says was worth it. Then it’s the next Christmas and she says, “I had no idea how much this would change me.”
It is clear this was intended as one of those feel-good commercials Hallmark used to be so good at. And that’s what’s so warped about it.
Let’s break it down. A husband gives his beautiful and fit wife an exercise bike for Christmas. This in itself is narcissistic and sexist. She looks like a Yoga instructor. He looks more out of shape than she does. This is the age of #MeTo and there is no place for this type of sexist body shaming. If you look at other ads for Peloton there isn’t one person using their equipment that looks like they need to use it or looks like a ‘normal’ person. Most of the women appear to have had Brazilian butt lifts.
Giving some one a gift of any type of exercise equipment unless they expressly asked for it, is in poor taste and says you don’t look good enough to me. And this one is even worse because it says you don’t look $2,200 and $40 a month not good to me.
He never uses the bike. Not once. I have two theories on that. 1. His work took him out of the country for a year and he doesn’t want her to get fat while he’s gone. 2. He’s the one waking her up at 6 am to do her workout. Both are creepy .
The worst part of all. The next Christmas she not only did not throw him and the bike out the door, but she likes it and claims it has changed her. How? Is she thinner? Can she run more miles? She has the same asshole husband. Bad, bad storytelling.
If I were to create a commercial for Peloton I would make it clear the person wanted the bike and show both of them using it. I would show how they changed; winning a marathon, having the energy to do more with the kids…I’d think of something. It’s not enough to say a character changed. It must be concretized. The audience must see it for themselves. It’s the audience that should be saying, “Wow, look how it changed her.”
Back to the point about Peloton ads not showing a single person who looked like they needed to use a stationary bike. I do not think exercise equipment is only for fat people. Skinny people need to stay that way. But there isn’t one single ad–not one– that shows a ‘normal’ person using one of these. Not that I could find, anyway, and I think I know why. A fat person would look awkward on a Peloton. It’s that simple. Can you imagine my big butt on that tiny seat? My butt is not big in a good way; it’s wide and flat. They don’t want that image associated with their product. They were designed for skinny people of privilege. And hey fine, live and let live. Right?
Wrong. This commercial has been running a lot. Imagine a girl of about 14 or so seeing this beautiful, thin woman being fat shamed by her husband, a person who loves her. What is she going to think? This is the real issue. Most likely this girl is not going to say anything if she has body image issues. She most likely has no idea she does. She is going to compare her body to this woman’s and get the idea she is not good enough. Can you imagine what a young girl who doesn’t have a model like body is going to think? It’s a horrible message. A dangerous one.
I have an offer for Peloton. I’m in my fifties and could be more fit and loose some weight. If they give me a bike and subscription for a year, I will contract to workout 3-4 times a week and record my progress. At the end of year, they will be able to use my change in their commercial.
I know they will never take me up on this for two reasons. I’m not a beauty and the image of me with my big old butt on their seat does not fit their privileged brand. Second, I don’t think their product is worth the powder to blow it to you know where. I don’t think it works. I think it will do nothing for me.
It has been proven over and over that pushing yourself to your limits is not the best way to workout. To me the benefits of a Spin class come from the communal aspect of it. There is a psychological benefit to sweating with a group of people in a stimulus rich environment like a spin classroom. You do not get this riding a stationary bike alone at home. Sorry. You just don’t.
I own a Schwinn Airdyne exercise bike that is about 40 years old. It came with a big old seat for a normal size butt. The seat is broken. I will have it fixed. It does not connect to anything. It uses air to create resistance and creates a breeze that keeps you comfortable and sends all dust bunnies in the basement scurrying for cover. It tracks your miles mechanically. You are the only power it requires. It also has a stand so you can read a book or magazine while working out. LOL. If I don’t hear from Peloton by New Year, I commit to working out on the Airdyne bike and sharing my progress thought out 2020.