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Susan Tompor: Peloton's controversial bike ad stirred immediate reaction when I watched it

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Home and Consumer News

A week ago while winding down from Thanksgiving weekend, I turned to my husband shortly after seeing what's now turned into a firestorm of a TV commercial and quietly said: "Don't get me a Peloton."

His quick response: "Here is the good news: It never crossed my mind."

The exchange between us seemed so funny that I immediately tweeted it out on Dec. 1 and have since gotten 19 likes. Who knew that a simple exchange between two people who have been together for more than 25 years could be so telling?

And really, who knew that America would get so worked up over a Peloton commercial?

Peloton Interactive made big news when its stock dropped 9.12% on Dec. 3 to close at $33.48 a share, down $3.36. The stock fell 1.55% on Dec. 4 to close at $32.96 a share, down 52 cents.

The stock appeared to take a hit after social media exploded about the latest lush holiday Peloton ad featuring a gorgeous young woman who tells the story of her harrowing year-long journey to get up at 5 a.m. and ride that exercise bike that her husband gave for Christmas. Spoiler alert: She's still in great shape.


Secretly, of course, much of America would love to be as wealthy as the couples in these ads, which show the high-end exercise bike set in a House Envy-worthy home with rich wood floors, lots of open space and art work. No dirty jeans or ratty sweatshirts hang off these bikes.

Secretly, of course, you can imagine the ad folks writing some Peloton commercials tongue-in-cheek. The public has been mocking these ads on Twitter for more than a year already. USA Today posted a string of Twitter comments zinging Peloton on Jan. 29. One particularly inspiring Tweet stated: "I took my Peloton bike to Europe and used it on the balcony of our $2,000/night Airbnb and honestly I felt like I was flying over London, you should try it."

Now, though, the latest ad hit a real #MeToo nerve, triggering accusations of sexism.

One woman tweeted: "I think what bothers me about the Peloton ad is the look on that woman's face throughout the commercial, like she's apologizing for her very existence on this earth."


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