Peloton Under Fire For ‘Sexist’ Holiday Ad

Peloton Interactive Inc. (NASDAQ: PTON) has come under fire for a controversial new ad pushing its bike as a great Christmas gift for wives. The commercial, set to Tal Bachman’s 1999 one-hit wonder “She’s So High,” took the world by storm and was hate-tweeted into virality. In the face of the backlash and mockery, the company’s stock suffered a massive decline, erasing hundreds of millions of dollars from Peloton’s market value.

In the commercial, a wife receives the bike as a present from her hubby and seems completely surprised. She then documents her fitness journey with videos, eventually premiering the compilation for her spouse. She says in the end, “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” without detailing how she has changed.

The holiday ad for the $2,245 luxury stationary bike has been compared to a hostage video. Some have pointed out that the petite brunette woman wears a smile on her lips but there’s a “help me!” signal in her eyes. On social media, those defending the ad are few and far between.

Peloton says it’s disappointed that people took the holiday commercial the wrong way. A rep for Peloton said in a statement, “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.” Peloton also released a bunch of emails it said it’s received in support of the ad.

Peloton’s stock dropped as much as 9 percent after the ad went into heavy rotation. According to Business Insider, that drop erased almost $942 million worth of Peloton’s market value in just one day. It represented the biggest one-day drop since October, lowering the company’s market cap to about $9.4 billion. Peloton’s shares have started to bounce back, though they haven’t yet recovered to their pre-holiday ad value.