Picture this: It’s Christmas day, and freshly fallen snow blankets your yard. You cover your eyes while your toddler leads you into the living room, where a $2,245 Peloton stationary bike gifted by your flannel-wearing husband sits unwrapped by your meticulously decorated Christmas tree. A noise that passes off as excitement exits your mouth, and “She’s So High” by Tal Bachman starts playing in the background for some reason.
Too much for your imagination to handle? No worries, you can just watch the actual Peloton commercial that made this holiday-themed Black Mirror–esque episode a reality.
As the rest of the 30-second commercial progresses, the woman goes to painstaking measures to document her Peloton journey. “First ride. I’m a little nervous but excited,” she announces to her phone’s front-facing camera, because, of course, who wouldn’t be nervous to start furiously pedaling alone in their living room when the window is wide open for all the neighbors to see? “Let’s do this.”
Twitter has a way of digging up the best well-intentioned yet horribly executed adverts, only to expose them to the merciless online masses. Harsh feedback to the TV spot (aptly titled “The Gift That Gives Back” on the company’s YouTube channel) drove down Peloton’s shares by as much as 10 percent, according to Bloomberg. “Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” Peloton told CNBC. “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.”
There’s so much to pick at: The inherent passive aggression in gifting thousands of dollars’ worth of exercise gear to your spouse for the holidays; the way the actress’s wide doe eyes crinkle in quiet desperation as she records her daily Peloton routine, and how her voice somehow always has a slight gasp to it—like she constantly cannot believe that she’s indeed sitting on a stationary bike; the misogynistic undertones in suggesting that a woman would react in any way other than bewilderment at receiving a literal stationary bike as a present. Still, my personal favorite is the music, because what else evokes those warm fuzzy feelings of a Christmas miracle more perfectly than that one late-’90s rock song that seems to be in every coming-of-age movie?
By the ad’s end, the wife is on the verge of tears, but not for the reason that you’d think! “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she says to the camera at the end of her homemade Peloton documentary. “Thank you.”
Really, the ending is just a more elaborate riff off Instagram’s favorite Christmas caption: “It’s an avocado … thaaaanks.”
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