Peloton exercise bike ad mocked as being ‘sexist’ and ‘dystopian’

A picture of a Peloton exercise bicycle. Image copyright Peloton

A Christmas advert from exercise bike company Peloton has been widely mocked on social media as being “sexist”, “out of touch”, and even “dystopian”.

The ad, which has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube, sees a woman receive an exercise bike for Christmas from her husband.

She then records her workouts over the following year in a vlog and presents it to him as a way of saying thank you.

“A year ago, I didn’t realise how much this would change me,” she says.

Criticism of it has been so viral it infected the company’s shares, which closed more than 9% lower on Tuesday.

Peloton was not immediately available to comment after being contacted by the BBC.

Peloton sells fitness equipment – with bikes priced at more than $2,000 – fitted with touchscreens. Users then purchase a subscription to access classes streamed live and on-demand.

The New York-based company released the ad on 21 November, but criticism on social media has increased markedly in recent days.

Some people complained it is sexist for a man to give his wife an exercise bike for Christmas, as it suggested he wanted her to lose weight.

Others noted that – despite claims the bike has “changed” her – the already slim actress who plays the main character looks exactly same.

Some also said the ad had a dystopian vibe and compared it to a horror film.

Comedy writer Jess Dweck wrote on Twitter: “The only way to enjoy that Peloton ad is to think of it as the first minute of an episode of Black Mirror.”

A Twitter account devoted to Limericks wrote: “The Pelaton [sic] wife/Has a beautiful life/And a general aura of fear.”

The ad has also spawned parody commercials, with at least one suggesting giving the bike would lead to divorce.

To date, the firm’s Twitter account has not weighed in on the debate. But it has turned off comments on the YouTube video of the ad.

It is not the first time Peloton’s appeals to buyers have been spoofed.

ClueHeywood, a Twitter personality in Arizona, called out the company earlier this year for the absurdity of how it staged its adverts.

“Love putting my Peloton bike in the most striking area of my ultra-modern $3 million house,” he wrote.

He offered his take on the most recent commercial as well, describing it as an account of a “116 lb woman’s YEARLONG fitness journey to becoming a 112 lb woman”.

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