But this is 2019, and once the internet found the ad and pulled at its seams, there was no turning back.
This much is clear: We’re living in a post-Peloton holiday ad world now.
There’s a tangled web of accused offenses to run through, but first, let’s break down the 30-second spot.
We open on a young mother descending the stairs of her home, led by her daughter. It is a snowy holiday morning (you can see the snow through the home’s luxurious floor-to-ceiling windows!).
A faceless husband is waiting for her with a surprise gift!
“A PELOTON?!?” she shrieks — but in delight, or fear?
The unnamed woman begins to document her fitness journey in a vlog, and audiences briefly wonder if this woman is a professional YouTuber.
She rides after work. She rides, begrudgingly, at 6 in the morning.
She rides straight out of winter and into the spring — one can tell time has passed because the windows now reveal a lush and green backyard.
She records it all, though her large, doe-like eyes seem to plead those of us watching at home for help.
Who is making her vlog after all?
Now it’s fall, and our unnamed protagonist has cycled her way through three seasons in 20 seconds! From the screen in front of her, a Peloton instructor finally acknowledges her efforts — “Let’s go, Grace from Boston!”
Grace, still home in Boston, is thrilled. Viewers are thrilled to learn this woman has a name.
“A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she says, now a full believer.
Audiences cannot immediately notice how Grace from Boston, as fit now as she was at the ad’s start, has changed, other than she is now named and perhaps has joined a fitness cult.
She thanks her husband for the gift, though it seems as though she did not initially ask for the exercise machine in the first place.
Why people hate it
So what, then, is the most offensive part of this ad?
Perhaps Grace from Boston just wanted an actual bike or an Instant Pot or something, but in Victor’s clip, it seems her husband was nudging her toward weight loss.
Perhaps it’s the idea that a working mother has the time to record her daily fitness regimen for her husband’s viewing pleasure — and is she doing so against her will? Or maybe it’s the use of the schmaltzy anthem “She’s So High,” a relic of an era when depictions of these marital dynamics were widespread?
The ad is of course fictional, and it’s possible the fictional Grace from Boston loved fitness and dreamed of owning a Peloton bike. But in internet lore, she’ll find new life as a meme.
The company hasn’t issued any responses on social media. Peloton had no comment when reached by CNN.
Peloton and privilege
Past Peloton ads haven’t inspired as much buzz as this one has, but critics have knocked the privileged consumers they portray and market to.
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