Peloton made lemons out of lemonade in a big hurry after it got some negative attention during the "Sex and the City" spinoff "And Just Like That…"
A brief ad that clocks in at less than a minute was quickly thrown together featuring Mr. Big actor Chris Noth narrated by Ryan Reynolds that seemingly pivoted the attention the brand was getting from the show and refocused it into a now-viral video.
[Spoiler Alert for "And Just Like That…"]
The first episode of the series sees Mr. Big suffer a fatal heart attack following a rigorous workout on his Peloton bike led by real-life Peloton instructor Jess King. After that fateful moment, the company saw its stock drop as people mourned the loss of the fan-favorite character and jokingly or not blamed his Peloton workout.
Mere days after the premiere and the ensuing fallout for Peloton, it was able to work with Ryan Reynolds’ Maximum Effort brand to get the viral ad out that features Noth alive and well on a romantic getaway with King as they express the health benefits of cardiovascular exercise provided by Peloton.
Speaking to Fox Business, a representative for Peloton noted that it had no formal product placement agreement with the HBO Max series. Instead, it was viewed by the company as a casting opportunity for one of its instructors. It didn’t even foot the bill for the bike that was used in the scene.
In addition, the company noted that there was nothing in the works prior to the episode premiering. Instead, it was able to swiftly work with Reynolds’ Maximum Effort agency, which recently acquired MNTN and its new Creative-As-A-Subscription service, which Peloton was an early supporter of. As a result, the lines of communication were already in place and both companies were able to be nimble and get the reactionary ad up quickly.
"Together, we created a video to reinforce the important health narrative that Peloton and cardiovascular exercise are good for you, and help millions of real people lead long, happy and healthy lives," the company’s statement reads.
This is in keeping with information that Reynolds gave to The Hollywood Reporter in which he noted that he was able to get Noth on board quickly while Peloton and Maximum Effort got the ball rolling on the commercial.
"Chris was in right away but it was a whirlwind. For all of us. I certainly helped secure Chris but Maximum Effort has built itself on challenges like these so, while never ever easy, the secret is practice and not losing heart when challenges inevitably occur."
The response to the ad has been overwhelming. While "And Just Like That…" delivered HBO Max’s strongest series debut ever, according to Deadline, Peloton has been able to dominate the conversation surrounding its product and the episode. The new ad has been viewed more than 3 million times since its debut Sunday evening, according to Newsweek.
"The response has been great," Reynolds added. "It’s been really satisfying to work so hard so quickly towards something which is this much fun and have it work out. I think people like to see the spirit of Maximum Effort — that we want to have fun and bring people together but not ever at anyone’s expense."
According to Adam Rizzieri, co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer with Agency Partner Interactive, the swiftness with which the ad was able to capitalize on the conversation surrounding Peloton was key. Although the heat on the company was negative thanks to the show, he thinks the ad was a big, positive chess move for the company.
"The drastic fall of Peloton's value seemed to be a perfect visualization of Mr. Big's death - they both fell unexpectedly and rapidly," he told Fox Business. "But some great marketing is playfully turning an on-screen loss into a win. As we approach the peak of holiday shopping I think this could be extremely timely for Peloton relative to its competitors. At this stage in the game, it's all about brand awareness, pricing, and fulfillment."
Rizzieri concluded: "In just 38 seconds, Peloton tees up holiday purchasing ahead of New Year's resolution season, complete with a toast from "Mr. Big" stating, "to new beginnings."