By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch
It’s the classic feel-good Christmas tale.
A husband wants his wife to lose a little around the middle, so he gives her some exercise equipment. She’s thrilled but also scared. She captures her journey of apparent self-discovery on social media for a year, so that the happy couple can celebrate the following Christmas by reviewing her progress.
That’s the quick and cynical take — and there are plenty of those going around — on Peloton’s new holiday ad for its popular exercise bike, dubbed “The gift that gives back.” Or as some have called it, the “new season of Black Mirror.”
Either way, if there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Peloton, which sells exercise bikes with screens that connect cyclists for remote classes, nailed it.
Here’s the whole 30-second clip:
As you can see, “thumbs down” outnumber “thumbs up” by 15 to 1, and Peloton opted to have the comments turned off. That’s probably a good thing, considering the kind of backlash it was getting across Twitter /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR +2.73% .
So many questions! Why is she so terrified? What’s up with the Instagram story, and who’d want to review her year on the bike? How exactly did it change her? And that soundtrack? Here’s just a taste:
Eva Victor summed it all up with her version of the ad:
Shares of Peloton /zigman2/quotes/208035743/composite PTON -2.78% have come under pressure since the ad went viral. At last check, the stock was down more than 4% in Wednesday’s session, though it’s still up 32% in the past month following its September IPO.
In a statement emailed to CNBC on Wednesday, Peloton expressed its disappointment in how the ad was received by some viewers.
“Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey,” a spokesperson said. “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.”