Peloton’s Bumpy Ride – Lessons Learned

Peloton Bike Ad

Peloton (the exercise bike company) watched $942 million in market value ride into the sunset in a single day. The value destruction was due to its controversial holiday commercial. The internet didn’t like it. But… did the punishment fit the crime? Is this result an unfortunate outlier, or are there lessons to be learned?

I watched the ad several times yesterday. It is objectively bad. In other words: it’s poorly written, acted, directed, and produced. Whoever did it phoned it in. Subjectively, its messaging is all over the place, which — from a marketing point of view — is also objectively bad. This is not a novel by Charles Dickens; it’s a TV commercial that should have been crafted with clear messaging and measurable goals.

That said, it is possible that this is one of the greatest ads ever made. After all, it caused a firestorm of free promotion. In a cluttered media world, that takes genius.

Of course, the company lost $942 million in market value in one day, but… is it possible that the exceptional discount on brand awareness marketing will propel sales to greater heights, positively impact next quarter’s earnings, rekindle investor interest, and reclaim (or exceed) the value lost this week? That’s the billion dollar question. Please take today’s survey and, if you would be so kind, please explain your answer in the comment field below. Thanks.


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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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