Saturday, December 7, 2019

An old fogey's take on that offensive Peloton commercial

My mom, who lived to 102, used to say that the older she became, the less things made sense. It wasn’t that she was having difficulty processing information. Far from it — mom was laser-sharp until the day she died. She was referring to the fact that she had trouble understanding peoples’ reactions to changing mores. Behaviors her generation had considered good were now considered bad. Undesirable behaviors had become desirable.

Given the uproar about Peloton’s holiday commercial, I now understand what she was saying.

Peloton, if you haven’t heard of it, is an exercise bike that connects to the internet. The bike itself costs north of $2,000. Owners pay another $39 a month for unlimited online classes. 

The company created a :30 commercial that features a husband giving his wife a Peloton. Watch the video here. You’ll notice it is snowing outside. It’s not unreasonable to assume that one of his motivations is to enable her to ride in the comfort of her own home in winter. 

People couldn’t have been more upset if the commercial showed him dragging her into the bathroom and dunking her head in the toilet. The company’s stock has been hammered. The actor who plays the husband has been told he will never work again. The actress who plays the wife is appearing in a gin commercial that implies she left his sexist ass and is starting over (click to see it.). The ad was parodied (badly, as usual) on SNL. 

I spent my working life creating ads. A decade ago I would have written something like this and, silly me, been proud of it. Guess it’s a good thing I retired when I did because today, I’d be getting death threats. Perhaps I’ll get some as a result of this blog post. Go ahead, shoot me. I’m clearly too old to live in this mixed up, muddled up, shook up world.

I can understand why some might conceivably find the commercial annoying and/or cloying. But if you are one of the millions of Americans of any sex (notice how enlightened I am)  who are apparently enraged about it and can't understand the husband not only meant no harm but had good intentions, I suggest anger management therapy. It might do you good. At the very least, consider exercising your frustrations away on a device— not a Peloton of course -- you can buy for yourself. If you find the commercial totally offensive without an iota of redeeming value, I’d like to hear from you. And if you, like me, don’t find it offensive, I’d like to hear from you, too. Remember, I’m an old man. Like all old men, I am lonely so please, email me, write a letter, or dispatch a message by Pony Express or carrier pigeon. I will get right back to you. 

My dad, by the way, bought mom an upright Hoover vacuum for their 25th anniversary in 1958. I remember the day he brought it home. That afternoon, she drove to the nearest jewelry store, told the jeweler she wanted the biggest diamond he had in stock, wore it out of the store, and had the bill sent to dad. He paid it. 

If the same thing were to happen today and she shot him, a jury would find her innocent and she’d be hailed as a folk hero. 

Crazy but then, what do I know?