Peloton is advertising again, and this time it’s staying away from actors.
The fitness technology company has a new campaign starring real riders for the first time rather than actors. The series of new spots, which debuted on Monday, features a school teacher, an NFL agent, a military veteran, a baker, a public defender, a grandpa, and a nurse—all describing who they are, the groups they ride with, and why they ride. (One spot features a member with the user name “PeloYom,” who is a high school teacher and mom of three kids in New York City.)
While Peloton’s past marketing has focused on the company’s gear and services, Peloton’s head of global marketing Dara Treseder says the new campaign is a “natural evolution” of the brand as it moves from explaining a new category of fitness to showcasing the way people fit in at-home workouts within their lives. The campaign will appear across a dozen platforms ranging from TV and over-the-top to social media.
“Our Peloton community of more than 3.1 million members really comes from people from different walks of life,” Treseder says. “We all have our reasons, we all have our different walks of life, but we all come together as one Peloton, and we wanted to show that. We wanted to show that diversity across age and race and gender and location and language. And we do that through this ad.”
The campaign is a sharp contrast to Peloton’s controversial “Peloton Wife” ad that debuted late last year under its previous CMO, which featured a woman receiving a Peloton bike for Christmas from her husband and documenting a year of workouts. (The ad caused the company’s stock price to plummet, and even prompted parodies from comedians and even from Ryan Reynolds’ gin.)
In order to cast the campaign with real riders, Treseder—who joined Peloton in August from her role as CMO of the 3D printing company Carbon—says the company did an email campaign asking people to tell their story about what inspires them along with whether they rode under a certain tag and why. Peloton also looked to see the most popular tags to see who might demonstrate the uniqueness of various riding communities. (Because of restrictions on filming during Covid-19, Peloton’s marketing team shot the entire campaign remotely across eight cities in just nine days.)
Because everything was done remotely, it was easier to quickly shoot so much content efficiently around the world, according to Treseder, who was named to Forbes’ annual World’s Most Influential CMOs list last week.
“Opportunity always opens the door for creativity, and it opens the door for innovation even from a logistical standpoint,” she says. “And so we were able to shoot members in their homes in their loved spaces and to tell their story in a way that you can’t do without shooting them in their own natural environments, right?”
Peloton, which went public in June 2019, has continued to gain momentum especially as more people have been forced to stay away from their gyms and find new ways to work out during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the company’s fourth-quarter 2020 earnings, connected fitness subscriptions grew 113% year-over-year to more than 1.09 million subscribers while paid digital subscriptions not connected to a Peloton bike or treadmill grew 210% to 316,800. Meanwhile, Peloton’s revenue in the fourth quarter grew 172% to $607.1 million while the company’s total revenue for the 2020 fiscal year grew 100% to $1.8 billion. The total number of workouts also increased to 76.8 million in the fourth quarter—a 333% increase year-over-year. The average monthly workout total per subscription also doubled—reaching nearly 25 in the fourth quarter, up from 12 a year earlier.
As Peloton rolls out its first major marketing push since its Olympics campaign a few years ago, it’s facing competition from other parts of the connected fitness category. A few weeks ago, Apple released a new Fitness+ service while other startups like Tonal and Mirror continue to see growing popularity. However, Treseder says the technology combined with the “community” showcased in the ad campaign give the company a “winning combination.”
“I’m not surprised others have come to recognize the connected fitness opportunity,” Treseder says. “I’ll give (Peloton Cofounder and CEO) John Foley and all of our founders so much credit for coming up with this before the world recognized it.”