Those Peloton commercials shame the lazy slob in all of us

A velo junkie cycles his ass off to the beat of a club banger playing in the background like a soundtrack.  On the screen, a flawlessly-sculpted human with a larger-than-life personality.  Their energy is both intoxicating and contagious.  If you guessed a Peloton commercial then you guessed right.  

Image of the Peloton logo in white on a black background

The marketing geniuses at the interactive fitness firm have been hard at work promoting what feels like a fusion of hip-hop, cycling, and Instagram into a must-have workout program.  The commercials are effective.  In fact, in their latest campaigns, the actors—all of whom are attractive—have gradually diversified to resemble the body types of everyday people.  You won't find any frumpy folks here.  Even the most novice of the athletes wear the flyest workout gear, logos and all.  There's something about the way they put in work and break a sweat that makes one think to themselves—I need to get one of those bikes and be like them.   

What's so great about Peloton?

Have you ever wanted to be a part of a movement—not a trend—but an actual phenomenon?  For a moment, it seemed like that's what Peloton was going to be.  There's something about those ads that awaken the lazy slob in all of us leave us with a yearning to be part of something bigger.  It's more than an expensive exercise bike.

Having an on-demand trainer and feeling connected to a larger network of amped up go-getters with similar fitness goals is peculiarly motivating.  It's different than a normal spin class where you're beholden to the group of people in your class only.  This is something exclusive, you and your peers have each made a commitment, this is the first-class cabin of fitness, and you have the receipt to prove you belong.  

The issue with Peloton

During the COVID-19 pandemic, anything that could help a person kill time and remain in the safety of their own home was a good idea.  Peloton saw interest in their products spike and along with it, the popularity of the company peaked.  

Now that the world has opened back up, riding a stationary bike at home while connecting via Zoom is no longer the jam.  It was admittedly okay during the pandemic but now people wanna get back out there to interact and have experiences.  How many of your pandemic product purchases are still being used regularly today?  It's likely more than a few people currently use their Peloton bikes as coat racks or it wouldn't have been mentioned in one of their recent ads.  In the grand scheme of things, people have proven wiling to pay a premium for new technology but only they get regular use out of it. 

Marketing alone won't save Peloton

Spin class is not for everyone, in fact, it's not for most, and yet the internet is littered with Peloton bike owners justifying having spent $1,500 on a stationary bike.  That's a lot of money to buy into a cult—meaning a product with a cult following—and whey you buy in, there's usually more than just a one-time fee.  Peloton aims to keep you hooked with a monthly subscription and wants you to stay within their ecosystem.  Compare that to other brands with cult followings—they're successful mainly because they're able to capture everyday users as well—think Apple. 

If there's one lesson to be learned from years of being a consumer of products within a closed ecosystem, it's that you're subject to price hikes and eventually, you'll wind up feeling real ordinary once an updated model is released.  

It will take much more than a shift in strategy to stave off what seems like the inevitable.  In addition to disposable income, the Peloton model requires of potential customers extra time—like the ability to work from home—something employers are pivoting away from. 

In conclusion, as captivating as the commercials may be, maintaining the motivation will be the ultimate challenge.  Peloton, you have everyone's attention....can you keep it?