The Prime Directive of Advertising

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Believe it or not, the above ad, a banal one I think, has generated immense controversy.

A winning advertisement can create a veritable halo around a brand. Then there’s what happened to Peloton.

The high-end exercise equipment maker has lost about $1.6 billion in market value following a controversial TV ad that some have bashed as sexist, classist and promoting an unhealthy body image. Although the spot originally ran in early November, Peloton shares have lost 15% since Monday, when the ad made the rounds on social media. 

Rohit Kulkarni, an analyst with equity research and trading firm MKM Partners, said the sharp drop in Peloton shares reflects “the negative sentiment toward the ad and the backlash. I don’t see any other fundamental reason that it would drop as such.”

Go here to read the rest.  Peloton’s paid snake oil salesmen forgot the first rule of contemporary advertising:  no ad can imply that any woman is not absolutely perfect just as she is.

Run afoul of that ad commandment and the internet woke, the eleventh plague, will descend upon the hapless company involved like ravenous locusts.  This is tricky since women do most of the buying of products in almost all societies, and the purpose of advertising is to convince prospective buyers that this purchase is essential for them, and the more that is not the case, the more the ad must make that case.   Perhaps this ad should have had an attractive woman buying a bike for a schlub of a husband and telling him to lose fifty pounds or lose her.  He begins to lose weight, she appreciates his efforts and she occasionally uses the bike herself, just for fun of course.  Played for laughs,  no one would have said a peep.  Ah advertising, one of the few professions more rightly despised than that of being a lawyer!

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  1. Typical woke crowd, full of rage and fury over nothing.
    Men, especially married dads, have been portrayed as imbeciles for decades by advertisers. This never changed, unless you are selling Duluth Trading underwear, which are the best ads since 1970s Miller Lite.

  2. A Peloton is not on my list of things to buy and never will be, but I do not see anything amiss here. I’ve watched the ad. It is the same as all their other ads.
    But then I’m not woke. Really. I have not even had my first cup of coffee yet.

  3. Excellent point by Penguins Fan:

    “Notice that everyone riding a Peloton has a bay window so everyone can see them riding it.”

    When I was young and health, competing in 10Ks and marathons and doing mini-triathlons, I rode an actual bicycle. I hated the treadmill, the rowing machine, the stationary bike, being watched by all those people at the gym. And I hated a fitness instructor telling me what to do. No thanks. Give me the open road away from everyone else. I don’t need to either show off how fit I am (well, not any longer – God let that be taken from me) or how poorly I compete.

    But today it’s all about narcissism. Peloton makes its money by appealing to people’s vanity. We know where that always leads. I really liked that movie, “The Devil’s Advocate” starring Keenu Reeves. Satan always appealing to our “self-love” and that’s today’s culture. Peloton is only a symptom.

    PS, I got back on Twitter and ensured that @OnePeloton now has a link to this post. I am sure my tenure there will be short lived again.

  4. The strange thing is, I’ve seen several stories on this, and nobody seems to agree about why everyone is upset. I’ve seen ‘man shames wife’, ‘rich people’s rich issues’, ‘obsession with self (watching a year worth of herself on media)’, the fact that from the beginning the woman looks as out of shape as an Olympic athlete. It’s as if we don’t even need an agreed upon reason, we just get mad and figure out why later.

  5. I showed my wife, who’s still in great shape at her age, and my youngest son this ad and asked them what they thought. They both thought it was a typical Peloton ad. They couldn’t find anything wrong with the ad even when I pressed them to find something wrong. With the Left it has always been about power and control. This is just the latest reminder.

  6. Haven’t watched the ad, don’t intend to, am giggling over what amounts to bad acting being complained about– “she looks so desperate!”

    Me not saying: Honey, she’s such a fitness freak her husband spent several thousand dollars on a bike. They do kinda tend to look desperate. There’s a reason that fitness freaks are in the same jokes as vegans and atheists.

  7. This has nothing to do with being woke, those people are going to be mad about everything. It’s an unintentionally funny and bad commercial. An already fit woman is intimidated about riding a bike? Her need to document her “journey”? They tried to tell a story instead of just sell their bike and they failed.

  8. Guys, Peloton is NOT a bike. It’s a fancy, expensive hampster exercise wheel with which spoiled brat awoke liberals may impress their friends with what a fit and healthy vegan they are. A bike is what I rode during a half Iron Man in my 30s – open road, real wind and rain and sun, real hills, real traffic. Leave these brainless hampsters to their exercise wheels.

    Apologies for insulting real hampsters everywhere.

  9. I’m with Cinicinattus on this one. The whole Peleton thing has been just kind of creepy to begin with : reminds me of Asimov’s Solaria.

  10. the sharp drop in Peloton shares reflects “the negative sentiment toward the ad and the backlash. I don’t see any other fundamental reason that it would drop as such.

    But P&G loses a billion in market share after their woke Gillette ad, and the ad had nothing to do with it. Huh.

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