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When ads backfire - what went wrong with THAT Peloton spot?

Indoor bike brand's Christmas campaign got the internet buzzing - but not in the way it planned...

Picture the pitch for Peloton’s Holiday ad as a Madison Avenue advertising executive outlines the plot to the indoor bike brand’s marketing chiefs … On Christmas morning, a mother is led downstairs by her little girl to find her present from her husband waiting – a Peloton exercise bike; over the ensuing months as she pedals away, she films herself and surprises him with a video she has put together showing how much she’s enjoying the gift.

Heartwarming stuff, yes? Well, that’s not quite how the internet saw it. The video has been mercilessly deconstructed and the piss-taking has been relentless – you’ll find some of the best on our live blog.

There’s a particularly vicious takedown here on USA Today, which reflects a lot of the reaction to the 30-second spot, and the fact the husband apparently couldn’t even be arsed to stick so much as a bow on the bike is the least of it.

Setting aside the not-so-subtle message a man might be sending his wife by buying her an exercise bike of all things for Christmas, the woman’s face as she prepares to use the bike for the first time is a picture.

A picture not of delight, but rather a mixture of Brad Pitt’s face when he opens THAT box in Seven, and Emma Thompson’s in Love Actually when she realises her husband has given her a CD rather than the jewellery she had been expecting (the intended recipient of which is a much younger work colleague).

It’s almost as though the actress is fighting to contain her own reaction had she received a similar gift from her own partner.

Then, there’s the apparently sleepless nights, the relentless riding, the constant filming and finally the almost dutiful presentation of the video as she gratefully shows him that his $2,000 hasn’t gone to waste.

Of course, the unsaid premise to the ad could be that the woman had been dropping not-so-subtle hints to her husband that this is exactly what she wanted for Christmas, though if that is the case, it wasn't communicated.

But if the intended target market is men, to give them an alternative gift suggestion to, say, a Tiffany bracelet or a Louis Vuitton handbag, before parting with their cash they might be advised to consider this take on the ad from online comedian Eva Victor, best known for her Fleabag spoof which went viral earlier this year, and which suggests it could end up costing them way more than two grand.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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