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A Gift Like No Other

Posted by Matthew Rehrl @matthewrehrl, Dec 6, 2019

A Gift Like No Other

From a marketing and social media perspective, I think the Recent "A Gift Like No Other" Peloton ad has much to offer as a social media marketing case study.

Personally, whether I love or hate this ad depends on what cultural glasses I am filtering the world with on any given day.

With the right filters on, I can find a few righteous reasons to hate it, and with different filters on, I see a few health reasons to love it.

All that being said, from a marketing and socially media perspective IF they were prepared for the controversy (a big IF), this was solid gold because it started conversation topics ranging from health vs fitness, to privilege, motherhood, spousal relationships, body image, thinness versus health, working moms, " me time", and cardiovascular risk reduction.

And guess what? Many of these conversations puts Pelton on the map for their target market – a market which can afford $2500 upfront and $40 a month forever (or until it goes into the garage!).

(As an aside, I doubt the marketing folks at Peleton knew what they were getting in to; I think it was an accident.)

Anyway, getting back to healthcare and OUR target markets, to what extent should we be willing to wade into social media waters which we know will have both a strong positive and negative response?

How controversial should we be in order to "sell" people on influenza vaccinations, or protected sex, or not smoking/vaping?

I don't know exactly – probably more bold than we usually are – but I know this: if we are going to be bold. it's better to be intentionally controversial and prepared, rather than just virally controversial by accident.

Thoughts?

(Disclaimer – although my wife wants a Peloton for the holidays, instead she got a fluffy black kitten – and we both agree- that's really "A Gift Like No Other!" -see attached.

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Some interesting fu: Based on the New York Times article, (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/03/business/peloton-bike-ad-stock.html) it does indeed appear the Peloton folks didn't really know beforehand this ad would be so controversial, which does make me wonder, what are these types of companies thinking during the ads final screening? I think just about everyone on this website could look a this and say, "Hey- you know – we may have a problem here; let's think this through"

So how to vet critical content before things like this happen? I think it's important to vet critical content/products with diversity groups OUTSIDE of one's corporate culture, especially if the corporate culture is overwhelming (think not just the Pelotons, and FitBits, but Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Uber and loads of tech startups).

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Hello @matthewrehrl , I enjoyed reading your article, especially appreciate how you weigh in on both sides of the argument, and then draw out what is of use and gently guide the reader to appreciate what matters most. Love the kitty, what is her name?

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I agree with Saadia I like how you showed both sides.
Personally I didn't see anything wrong with the commercial. I did say I wish I had a home like that one.
I can remember past commercials about husbands getting a washing machine or vacuum for their wives.
If a woman who loves to cook asks and gets an Insta-pot for the holidays and the commercial shows her the next year having dinner with family and talking about how great the pot was , will that be criticized too? ( I know the Instapot is not as expensive.)
I'm not a marketing expert but if they held a focus group with the market segment that buys the product and it was a success. And they run the commercial and people in the market segment they were targeting continue to buy the product regardless of the "controversy" does it matter who they test the commercial with?

If we switched the roles and the husband got the Peloton from his wife would there still be a controversy?

Would love to hear comments.
PS I don't need to buy a Peloton I live in a community with a fitness center I can use and pay for it with my HOA fees. But I did own a recombinant bike about 10 years ago.

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@drsaadiaim

Hello @matthewrehrl , I enjoyed reading your article, especially appreciate how you weigh in on both sides of the argument, and then draw out what is of use and gently guide the reader to appreciate what matters most. Love the kitty, what is her name?

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He’s Rousseau (“Roo” for short). My wife’s in NYC this week so I am 109% in charge..,

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There are some real significant discussions to be had around the differences between fitness and health.

Personally I think the Peloton controversy could be leveraged as a woman's health issue to remind people that the #1 cause of death in women, like men, is heart disease. Take a look at the "Go Red For Women" campaign here: https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts

(As an aside the Go Red For Women" Campaign is a real success story worth looking at from a marketing perspective)

One in three deaths of women are from heart disease. (Technically there are actually more total heart disease deaths of women than men, but in part it's because men die approx 5/7 years earlier and manifest heart disease 10 years earlier) Hence maybe it's the women who should be buying their husbands Pelotons :o)!

The Peloton ad was indeed boldly leveraged by Ryan Reynolds using the same actress (good for her!) for his Aviation Gin company and is quite popular:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/celebrities/2019/12/07/peloton-commercial-ryan-reynolds-taps-actress-aviation-gin-ad/4364531002/
Unfortunately, it does show her chugging down a glass of gin, and it might meet the definition of binge drinking. Here's some CDC info on women and drinking: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/womens-health.htm

So if you can use humor and leverage the Peloton ad to sell Aviation Gin to women, since Peloton has already suffered a 1 billio dollar stock price drop, why not use humor to apologize, make a little fun of oneself, AND discuss the number 1 killer of both women and men?

So, if I was marketing director at Peloton, this is what I would do for a Super-Bowl ad for February.

My Super Bowl Commercial :

A slightly middle aged overweight man at a bar with his guy friends, drinking water, declining a beer- "No thanks. I have a date."

A woman at a bar with her girlfriends, she's drinking water, declining a cocktail. She also says "No thanks, I have a date".

Cut to home:

Said Man jump on Peloton, while his wife puts on running/walking shoes.

"Enjoy you run, love"
"Enjoy your ride, honey!"

Exercise scenes….music..,,

Cut to blurred screen.

"Heart Disease is the number one killer of both men and women" . – show stats"

"We at Peloton know our bikes aren't for everyone."

"But we hope healthy daily activity is"

Music fades.

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The funny thing about Peloton is that I posted a lengthy analysis of the ad on my Facebook page, noting that if someone loves spinning anyway, the cost isn't actually ridiculous (averages out to $70/month over 5 years, including the class subscription.) In doing research for that, of course I had to go to their site. I'm now seeing tons of ads for Peloton. I hate spinning, but if I didn't, it might get me wanting one.

OTOH, the Peloton name brand now has a negative connotation for many. Are people going to be as excited about getting a Peloton if they feel like they'll be judged for it? Name brand dropping seems to be huge in the athleisure/exercise world. I'm a reluctant runner and figure skate competitively and belong to Facebook groups for both. Runners are debating whether it's still appropriate to buy Nike, and meanwhile, figure skaters are obsessed with Lululemon.

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@MeganRowe

The funny thing about Peloton is that I posted a lengthy analysis of the ad on my Facebook page, noting that if someone loves spinning anyway, the cost isn't actually ridiculous (averages out to $70/month over 5 years, including the class subscription.) In doing research for that, of course I had to go to their site. I'm now seeing tons of ads for Peloton. I hate spinning, but if I didn't, it might get me wanting one.

OTOH, the Peloton name brand now has a negative connotation for many. Are people going to be as excited about getting a Peloton if they feel like they'll be judged for it? Name brand dropping seems to be huge in the athleisure/exercise world. I'm a reluctant runner and figure skate competitively and belong to Facebook groups for both. Runners are debating whether it's still appropriate to buy Nike, and meanwhile, figure skaters are obsessed with Lululemon.

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Excellent observations about the potential for brand-toxicity.

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Matthew,
This has been an interesting thing to watch make its way through social media and I definitely agree – if you are going to be controversial, do it and own it.

I feel like a good organization with controversial marketing is Truth: https://www.thetruth.com/the-facts?gclsrc=aw.ds. They are an organization that is working to create messages to stop young, teen smoking/smoking all together. You've probably seen their commercials — there is one where someone goes into a gas station and after paying for their cigarettes, the cashier says it's not enough payment, and so the customer them a tooth — stating the health effects of smoking has a higher price than just money.

Some of their messages have been seen as "controversial," graphic or dramatic — but that is the point of their marketing and they do it VERY well. That is also their intent, which is why they do it so well.

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@lynkeren

Matthew,
This has been an interesting thing to watch make its way through social media and I definitely agree – if you are going to be controversial, do it and own it.

I feel like a good organization with controversial marketing is Truth: https://www.thetruth.com/the-facts?gclsrc=aw.ds. They are an organization that is working to create messages to stop young, teen smoking/smoking all together. You've probably seen their commercials — there is one where someone goes into a gas station and after paying for their cigarettes, the cashier says it's not enough payment, and so the customer them a tooth — stating the health effects of smoking has a higher price than just money.

Some of their messages have been seen as "controversial," graphic or dramatic — but that is the point of their marketing and they do it VERY well. That is also their intent, which is why they do it so well.

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Those are some great videos! Thanks for the resource!

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