Last year during the holiday season, Peloton released an ad that lit the internet on fire like a California gender reveal party.
The Washington Post headline read, “This Peleton ad is a dystopian fitness inspo hellscape,” the Vice headline read, “The Peloton Ad Woman Is Absolutely Not OK,” and USA Today wrote, “Someone please help the woman from Peloton’s awful new ad.”
The stock tumbled, executives were sent packing and the company’s tail was firmly planted between its legs.
Flash forward to September 2020: The brand has rebounded, in part thanks to COVID-19’s closure of gyms. Revenue jumped 66 percent according to a May release and we’ll presume Peloton learned a valuable lesson on content creation, much like Pepsi did following the Kendall Jenner fiasco.
This week, however, Peloton demonstrated exceptional savvy, showing how brands can engage and reward customers.
In unveiling a new collection of fitness products — including a new cycle model called the Bike+ that will cost $2,495 — Peloton announced it is cutting the price of its original at-home exercise bike by 15 percent or $350 down to $1,895. Existing members can trade in their working bikes for a $700 credit to use on the Bike+, and Peloton went so far as to send $350 checks to customers who recently purchased its core model.
A close friend of mine — a bank president and customer who received a check as he’d purchased a Peloton one month ago — was impressed.
“They spent a small amount of money for an endless supply of goodwill — a very customer centric message,” he said. “They knew the increase was coming, and rather than give it to me before they needed to, they waited and surprised me versus just telling me that a sale was coming when I bought it. It’s actually very clever value-based marketing, buys them great word of mouth and shows the commitment to the customer. “
In giving customers some love (and a few bucks), Peloton proved its commitment to riding the COVID-19 wave of consumers investing in their homes and finding new ways to exercise, while demonstrating considerable wisdom in sacrificing a few short-term dollars for the sake of deepening long-term consumer relationships.