Peloton’s “Outrageous” Commercial is Causing Quite a Stir

If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, or watched the news, you’ve probably seen the uproar over the television ad featuring a woman who received a Peloton stationary bike from her husband for Christmas. As someone who lifts weights and runs every day, I liked the commercial. I must say, I was taken back by all the harsh criticism on social media. Watch the commercial and see what you think.

Body Image

Much of the criticism revolved around the fact that the woman in the ad is pretty and seemingly fit already. I write “seemingly” because being thin does not necessarily mean someone is healthy. Even thin people can have high blood pressure and cholesterol, low aerobic capacity and weak muscles.

Some people believe the ad promotes an unhealthy lifestyle. Many social media comments said this 116 lb woman (they don’t know if that’s her real weight) doesn’t need to be 112 lbs. Who said she was trying to lose weight? What if she viewed exercise as a keystone habit that will help build discipline in other areas of life?

Consider this; if the woman in the ad had been overweight the outrage probably would have been around body shaming. Seems like a no win situation for Peloton when it’s all it’s trying to do is promote its exercise equipment.

Appropriate Gifts

Can a spouse give a gift like exercise equipment without conveying; “I don’t accept you as you are, you need to be thinner or more fit?” Yes, they can. As noted earlier, I run and lift daily so my wife has bought me lots of exercise equipment over the years including a treadmill. Not once did I think she was doing so because she doesn’t accept me as I am.

In the ad, nothing in the woman’s response to the bike, or her use of the bike, indicated she felt “less than” in the eyes of her husband. Her response was genuine excitement when she saw the gift. She also seemed pretty happy at the end when she and her husband watched the video of her journey.


We all come at the world from our own perspective and in large part that’s shaped by prior experience. If someone never felt good enough or disliked their body perhaps their response to the ad was triggered by those prior life experiences.

Another viewpoint, no less valid (the ad doesn’t give any context) is that the woman asked for the bike, or mentioned in passing how she thought it would be great to have one. As noted above, her response was genuine excitement.

I saw a Home Depot ad recently where a woman bought her husband tools for Christmas. Funny, but I didn’t see any complaints online that ad being sexist. I could contend the ad is totally sexist because in our house Jane is the fixer-upper. She’s never bought me tools but I’ve bought her tools. Why would Home Depot only assume men use tools? (I don’t believe they think that)

Good and Bad

Nothing is perfect and no person is perfect. Look for the bad and you’ll find it. You can read into the Peloton as whatever you want. Look for the good an you’ll find it too. I choose to believe the guy loved his wife, had the means to get her a very nice gift, did so AND that she loved it!


Don’t we have more important things to get upset about and act on than a Christmas commercial featuring workout equipment? What about all the people who commit suicide every day? How about our homeless vets? Cancer still has not been cured. Did you know we have a $23 trillion debt that will take 60,000 years to pay off if we pay it down a million dollars a day? Those are real issues to upset over.

To Do This Week

Some people look for things to get upset about. Compared to what I just noted above, this is fake outrage or some might call it a first world problem. People have a right to be upset about something and comment on it but that doesn’t mean they should always be with ones to control the narrative. In protest I might give Jane some golf equipment for Christmas. Her game is great but let’s face it, I’d love her soooooo much more if her handicap was 6, not 8.

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, international trainer, coach and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the planet on the science of ethical influence and persuasion.

Brian’s book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was a top 10 selling Amazon book in several insurance categories and top 50 in sales & selling. His LinkedIn Learning courses on sales and coaching have been viewed by more than 85,000 people around the world!

2 replies
  1. Bill Gladwell
    Bill Gladwell says:

    Your thoughts are what I was thinking when I heard about criticism of the commercial. When I viewed the commercial, I assumed the woman asked for equipment and was happy that she received it.


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