Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Peloton has responded to a plot-line in HBO Max’s new Sex and the City reboot, And Just Like That…, turning around a commercial in less than 48 hours after the company’s stock continued to plummet in reaction to events on the TV show over the weekend.
(Spoiler warning: the following discusses a major plot point from the first episode of And Just Like That…)
The plot point in question involved the sudden death of Mr. Big (Chris Noth), who suffers what appears to be a heart attack after enjoying a 45-minute Peloton workout. That workout happened to be led by a character played by a real-life Peloton instructor (Jess King).
Peloton says it approved King’s appearance in the show, but knew nothing about Big’s death. “We were not made aware of the plotline,” Peloton’s SVP of global communications Jessica Kleiman told The Verge over email. “This was a casting opportunity for one of our instructors for an acting role — not an official brand integration or product placement.”
Now the company has responded with a commercial featuring Noth and King, in which Noth suggests the pair “take another ride.” A voiceover from Ryan Reynolds reassures viewers that “regular cycling stimulates and improves your heart, lungs, and circulation, reducing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Cycling strengthens your heart muscles, lowers resting pulse, and reduces blood fat levels,” before concluding — “he’s alive.”
Kleiman told The Verge that the commercial was filmed over the weekend “in collaboration with Ryan Reynolds and his marketing company, Maximum Effort, who created the spot,” and that the whole thing “came together in less than 48 hours.”
It’s an impressively quick turnaround — so quick that you’d be forgiven for suspecting the whole back and forth is a bit of orchestrated viral marketing — but Peloton and Ryan Reynolds do have prior form here. When Peloton released its infamous “Peloton Wife” advert two years ago, Reynolds nabbed the same actress, Monica Ruiz, to appear in a commercial for his Aviation Gin, with the spot seemingly following the same storyline.
Peloton’s difficulties go far beyond fictional plot-lines, though. The company’s stock surged during the pandemic as more people were forced to work out at home, but enthusiasm for its products have since cooled. The company also has extremely real and tragic problems involving its equipment. Its treadmill was recalled after it caused numerous injuries and the death of a six-year-old who was pulled into the machine.