LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — An innocuous holiday commercial about a high-end exercise bike has touched a major nerve on social media.

Peloton has been at the receiving end of withering criticism for a commercial it released last month online, and has started airing on TV. The company is best known for its more than $2,200 stationary bicycle with streaming service that connects the user to spin classes remotely.

The commercial features a mother being surprised with the luxury exercise equipment by her partner on Christmas morning. She appears apprehensive as she documents herself on the bicycle for the first time, and the commercial follows her through her first five days, then the seasons, as a daily Peloton user.

“A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she says in a video as she watches on a couch with her partner, presumably the next Christmas. “Thank you.”

The ad has been universally scorned by Twitter, which has already produced some satirical and vulgar takes on the ad. Many have called the commercial sexist, pointing out the questionable choice of buying an exercise bike as a Christmas gift, especially such an expensive one.

Others pointed out that the woman featured in the ad appeared to have hardly changed over one year of using the stationary bike.

But Garrett Mehrguth, marketing expert and CEO of Directive Consulting, told CBSLA he thinks all the hubbub surrounding the ad will only raise Peloton’s brand visibility.

“My first reaction is, ‘Genius!’,” he said. “I simultaneously think that Twitter is not public perception as we’ve seen through elections and all sorts of things over the last five years.”

The ad, which began trending Monday, seems to have become a drag on Peloton’s stock, which sunk roughly 10 percent Tuesday.

Comments