Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Peloton would like you to know at least 3 people really liked its misinterpreted commercial
Screenshot: Peloton (YouTube)

When Peloton began airing its commercial showing a woman who receives a cursed stationary bike for Christmas, we foolishly assumed that it was bizarre trash. Fortunately, the company has now come forward with a few statements meant to make clear that no, in fact, the advertisement showing the year-long, self-filmed diary of a husband- and Peloton-induced mental breakdown is actually quite inspirational and those who think otherwise have “misinterpreted” its work.

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In a handful of quotes sent to CNN by an unnamed Peloton spokesperson, the company says that its ad was meant to depict the “fitness and wellness journey” that it’s “constantly” hearing about from those forever changed (“often in ways that surprised them”) by “purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread.”

Refusing to let the naysayers get them down, the statement continues: “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.”

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As evidence of this “outpouring of support,” the company provided CNN with “three emails from people who said they supported the ad.” These no-doubt real people include “a man who said he and his wife loved the commercial ... and ‘if we could afford one would absolutely buy one ourselves.’” This self-loathing emailer, who wholeheartedly supports a company making products too expensive for him to buy, added that “There’s nothing wrong with getting your spouse what they want for Christmas” and that “more people would do the same if they could afford to.” Peloton also forwarded along a message written by a woman who saw the ad and wanted to let the company know that its bike “became her sister-in-law’s ‘saving grace’ after she was diagnosed with breast cancer and couldn’t work out at a gym.”

Considering how many sickos out there eagerly cheer corporations, these could be legitimate messages. And yet, somehow the statement’s justifications don’t quite outweigh the more striking images of a woman staring into her cellphone in rapt terror that appear throughout the commercial. Whatever we think, though, perhaps filming our reaction to an entire year of these statements, made first thing in the morning or right when we come home, will gradually reveal the truth and convince us of the company’s marketing wisdom. Given enough time and PR statements and maybe we, too, will all end up smiling warily up at a Peloton executive as he watches our journey toward The Truth on Christmas morning, his approving, authoritative grin brightening us in ways too complex to ever describe.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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