The ad, which was originally released online earlier in November but went viral around Thanksgiving, depicts a husband gifting his wife a Peloton bike for Christmas. The woman, who initially seems totally dumbfounded by the $2,245 gift, tracks her apparently scary-but-exciting early-morning Peloton sessions in a year-long video diary, which she then shows to her partner as a thankful gesture at the end of the commercial.
"A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me," she says in the last frame, her face glistening with either sweat or tears. Many people thought the ad was problematic — and even urged Peloton to pull it — for a number of reasons. Some viewers complained the commercial, which features an obviously well-off couple in a spacious, modern house, reeks of privilege.
Other angry viewers accuse Peloton of sexism and perpetuation of diet culture, since a male partner gifting an already-thin female partner a piece of exercise equipment could imply he’s telling her, "You need to lose weight."
"The newest commercial about the vlogging 116 lb woman's yearlong fitness journey to becoming a 112 lb woman who says 'I didn't realize how much this would change me' is just ri-god-damn-diculous. Come on," one person said in a tweet that has gone viral in its own right.
Other users just thought the ad was stupid, even "dystopian"— one Twitter user compared a still shot of the actress' face to scene from the horror movie Get Out, while another said the ad seemed like a hostage video. Peloton did share one email with the New York Times that appeared to come from a user who didn't take issue with the ad.
In spite of the endless pile-ons, Peloton publicly stands by its ad and doesn’t seem inclined to pull it. "We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them," a representative from Peloton told the New York Times.
"Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. 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." Although the stock of the company had been gaining earlier this year, it dropped $942 million in one day amidst to the backlash from the ad, Business Insider reported.
While Allure has reached out to Peloton for comment, a spokesperson from the brand has not yet responded to our request.
Read more stories about wellness:
- How to Tell Your Partner What You Want In Bed
- The Complicated Benefits of Coming Out
- I've Been on Diets Since Age 11, and I Regret Every Single One of Them
Now, watch Zendaya try nine things she's never done before:
Originally Appeared on Allure