04 December 2019 18:34
(Reuters) - Exercise bike and treadmill maker Peloton Interactive Inc's (PTON.O) latest Christmas advertisement has been widely criticized on social media as being "sexist" and "dystopian". An actor is pictured in this screengrab from "The Gift That Gives Back" exercise bike commercial by Peloton obtained December 4, 2019. Peloton via REUTERS The advertisement, called "The Gift That Gives Back", shows a woman receiving a Peloton bike as a gift from her husband following which she records her workouts over a year and shares them with him through a video blog. The company spokeswoman said on Wednesday it was disappointed how some people had misinterpreted the commercial, which also had other positive feedback on a campaign that was meant to celebrate fitness. The 30-second ad sparked a storm on Twitter, with several users pegging it as sexist.
Some said the husband was "controlling" and "manipulative" as buying his wife an exercise bike suggested that the she needed to lose weight. Comedian and writer Jess Dweck compared the advertisement, which has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube, with an episode of Netflix's dystopian anthology series "Black Mirror". "This was just a clueless mistake that social media is going to rip you apart over," said Eric Schiffer, chief executive officer of Patriarch Organization, a Los Angeles-based private-equity firm. "I don't think it's going to create an avalanche of negative implications to revenues." Refinitiv's Eikon Social Media Monitor showed sentiment toward Peloton turned negative on Tuesday, having been firmly positive in the past couple of months. Founded in 2012, Peloton sells indoor exercise bicycles and offers packages requiring memberships to access live and on-demand classes from home.
The backlash to Peloton's holiday ad, which features a young woman filming herself working out over a year after being given a Peloton bike, reached a breaking point this week, as it struck some viewers as confusing, sexist, and classist. The ad was released in mid-November but was published on YouTube on November 21 and is being shown on TV. Now there are rumors that the ad could be pulled, The New York Times reported. Peloton's response and the adverse reaction to the ad are "worth monitoring," Justin Patterson, an analyst at Raymond James, wrote in a Tuesday note. He said he thinks that the ad might be taken off the air and that the controversy will eventually die down.
Critics have called on the stationary-bike maker to pull the ad, which depicts a woman receiving an exercise bike from her male partner and then showing him a video diary of the year she spent on it as a way of saying thank you. "A year ago, I didn't realise how much this would change me," she says. "Give your loved ones the opportunity to discover their strength, whenever they want it, all year long," viewers are then told. The ad has struck some as sexist with critics on social media saying that it seems like the woman... AN ADVERT for an exercise bike has been slammed as "misogynistic" and "sexist." US company Peloton released a festive ad of an already very slender woman who received the £1,900 bike from her husband for Christmas. 8 Peloton's Christmas advert has been branded sexist after a husband gifts his wife an exercise bike The 30-second commercial then documents her fitness transformation in a video, which she presented to her husband the next year. Titled "The Gift That Gives Back," the ad quickly went viral for its tone-deaf and "sexist" message of a man gifting his wife something that would help her lose weight — and her desperate need to document the physical change, critics said. In the ad, the actress is delighted to receive the gift from her husband. She comes downstairs Christmas morning to see the present waiting for her, as Tal Bachman's "She's So High" plays in the background. 8 Credit: Twitter 8 The advert went viral with thousands taking to Twitter to criticise it Credit: Twitter She begins filming herself, saying "First ride. I'm nervous, but excited," then goes on to document waking up at the crack of dawn for the punishing workouts — all to show her husband that she got the intended use out of the bike. The advert ends with her saying, "A year ago, I didn't realize how much this would change me." And many viewers have been left outraged, calling out the husband's unhealthy control over his wife, and her compulsion to please him with a fitness transformation. 8 In the advert, the wife can be seen filming her work outs throughout the year Credit: Peloton 8 At the end of the following year she shows her husband a film of her progress Credit: Peloton "Is anyone else getting, 'I'm afraid of my husband' vibes from the woman in the peloton commercial?! You rode a bike a few times this year. "That Peloton commercial would be better if at the end you found out she used it to train hard every day so that the following year, she could beat the s* out of her husband for buying her an exercise bike for Christmas," @FattMernandez wrote. User @t3t0bean agreed: "I am so glad there are also thousands of others who hate the sexist peloton ad lmfao." Some chose to poke fun at the advert on social media. when my husband gets me a Peleton for Christmas........ pic.twitter.com/Z2d3ewMhPu — Eva Victor (@evaandheriud) December 2, 2019 Here's the #peloton commercial back to back with a subtle marketing difference! pic.twitter.com/ol2lhOY0X2 — Peter Hargrave (@peteyhargrave) December 3, 2019 One witty Twitter user @LevinsReports joked: "Idk why everyone's hating on this #peloton ad. "Personally, it's inspired me to take a selfie video with the next s*ty present I get every day for a year then force the person who gave it to me to watch the montage." Others were moved to just blatantly mock it with their own parodies, like comedian Eva Victor's spoof, in which she serves her husband with divorce papers. Peter Hargrave's parody featured a man gifted space to do pushups — "Peloton for poor people." This article was originally published in the New York Post and has been republished with permission. In other news, here are the outrageously sexist adverts from a time when the #metoo movement certainly did not exist. Plus women were left horrified by "sexist" guide on "30 ways tp keep your husband." And we previously shared a patronising 1940s guide for how male bosses should treat female employees exposes struggle to overcome workplace sexism. Peloton has responded to a massive amount of criticism for one of its holiday ads. The maker of high-end at-home fitness equipment last month rolled out a holiday ad that implores viewers to "give the gift of Peloton," which had onlookers complaining about what they saw as undertones of sexism and classism in the ad. Though the ad first ran on Nov. 4, according to iSpot.tv, the spot more recently went viral on Twitter. "We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them," a company spokesperson said in an email. "Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. 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." Accompanying its statement, Peloton sent CNBC PDF documents of positive emails it had received about the ad, from which last names and email addresses were redacted, as well as one Facebook post in support of the spot. The company's shares went negative shortly after CNBC published the statement. Shares were down as much as 4% in the early afternoon. In an investor note Tuesday, Raymond James analysts commented that the "significant backlash" to this particular ad likely wouldn't sting in the long run, noting that Black Friday traffic appeared solid and that its affordability campaign is "compelling." "While reactions to the holiday ad are disappointing, we do not expect it will adversely affect holiday demand," the analysts said. "We do believe Peloton may review its marketing strategy, given the frequency in which its ads are parodied on social media." Here are the emails and Facebook post Peloton sent to CNBC: Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast-NBCUniversal is an investor in Peloton.