- Peloton dropped a new ad that features actor Chris Meloni working out in the buff. The release was timed for National Nude Day on July 14.
- In the spot, the “Law & Order” star expresses confusion at people who think the way he works out is strange. Meloni seems to misinterpret this commentary, believing they’re judging his use of the Peloton app versus being naked when he exercises.
- The creative comes from agency Maximum Effort, which has previously designed celebrity-led campaigns for the exercise equipment marketer. It arrives as Peloton tries to enact a turnaround plan, with the company earlier this week announcing it would outsource the manufacturing of its hardware.
Peloton’s road to recovery remains a long one, but cheeky marketing might again endear the brand to consumers following a run of bad press. The Meloni-starring ad is at least likely to spark some social media chatter by showing the muscle-bound actor working out in the nude, albeit with his private parts censored for obvious reasons.
Beyond an eyebrow-raising hook — Meloni’s physique has been known to cause a Twitter stir — the commercial is clearly trying to shift the discussion focus to Peloton’s app.
“I don’t think using the Peloton app is strange at all,” Meloni says in the 60-second spot. “Sure, they’re famous for their amazing equipment, but the app gets me motivated to do lots of different workouts.”
Peloton has long served as both manufacturer and marketer of its connected fitness equipment, which includes bikes and treadmills. The company was a darling earlier in the pandemic when gyms shuttered and people were forced to devise home workout plans. That situation changed drastically in recent months in a reopened economy. Warehouses piled up with unsold Peloton products, while subscriber growth cooled.
The firm earlier this year tapered off production of its hardware and replaced Co-founder and CEO John Foley with Barry McCarthy, a veteran of Spotify and Netflix. This week, it named Taiwan-based Rexon as its primary manufacturer in a major pivot to outsourcing. Peloton also said it would suspend operations at its Tonic Fitness Technology facility through the end of 2022.
Peloton putting a heavier marketing play behind its app amid these changes makes sense, though the celebrity-led approach still differs from its recent marketing tack. In May, after kickstarting a turnaround strategy, Peloton dropped a brand refresh campaign that featured popular instructors who lead its exercise broadcasts. Instructors play an important role in getting people hooked on Peloton, but had not been deployed this prominently in its consumer-facing messaging before. The campaign, from agency Mother LA, also introduced Peloton’s first tagline: “Motivation that Moves You.”
With the Meloni push, Peloton is going back to Maximum Effort, an agency owned by actor Ryan Reynolds that’s well-regarded for its snarky sense of humor and ability to jump on trending cultural discussions. After the “Sex and the City” streaming revival killed off beloved character Mr. Big, played by Chris Noth, last year, Peloton and Maximum Effort quickly pulled together an ad starring Noth and referencing the twist. The ad initially seemed like a winner but was eventually pulled after multiple women accused Noth of sexual assault.
Maximum Effort’s latest work for Peloton makes an obvious nod to Meloni’s famed role as Detective Elliot Stabler on “Law & Order: SVU,” with closing narration that mirrors the opening one on the show. The series focuses on investigations into sex crimes.