How this ad has managed to enrage 99 per cent of the world

High-end fitness company Peloton has caused a bit of a debacle online with its festive season ad.

High-end fitness company Peloton has caused a bit of a debacle online with its festive season ad. Photo: Peloton

What’s the worst mistake you’ve made at work?

Hit reply-all on a salty email, when you meant to send it to just one person?

Maybe you’ve broken an extremely expensive piece of equipment.

Or engaged in some negative water cooler talk about Janet from accounts, and realised too late Janet is standing right behind you.

But have you ever managed to annoy and/or offend 99 per cent of the world in the space of 30 seconds?

Whoever is behind the creative direction of the Peloton exercise bike’s latest ad did.

The ad was released last month, but in the past week it has really pushed a lot of buttons.

If you haven’t seen it, this is it.

If you haven’t seen it and can’t be bothered watching it, here’s a quick synopsis: a woman is given a Peloton exercise bike for Christmas by her husband. (Peloton is an exxy workout brand that places tablets with subscription-stream on its gear.)

The lucky, lucky woman video-blogs the next 12 months of her journey with Peloton.

Highlights include her first ride (“I’m a little nervous” about using an exercise bike in the safety of her own home), being surprised at using it for the fifth day in a row, and the quick descent into a montage of the next year set to She’s So High by some late-1990s one-hit wonder.

The result is a video within a video: The husband’s thank-you gift is a cut-together video of his wife’s Peloton journey.

“A year ago, I didn’t realise how much this would change me,” one of her earnest vlogs states.

It really did change her.

She went from weighing 52.6 kilograms to 50.8 kilograms.

And she loves her husband even more than she ever thought possible.

Even though he bought her the second-most offensive gift a partner can gift (the first is surely an iron).

Cue: Generalised internet outrage. At its kindest, the ad was branded “out of touch”, and at the more extreme end, sexist and even dystopian.

The ad and ensuing outrage was so bad this week that on Tuesday (US time), Peloton’s shares plunged 9 per cent, a drop of $US942 million.

But apparently, it’s not Peloton, it’s us.

The company released a statement, which said it was disappointed in how “some have misinterpreted this commercial”.

(Reiterating: If you take umbrage with the ad, you’ve obviously misinterpreted it.)

The statement went on to say that the ad has received an “outpouring of support from those who understand what we are trying to communicate”.

Thankfully, there’s a lighter side to the ad – check the excellent mock rendition below. (Warning: coarse language)

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