Why is Ryan Reynolds' Peloton spoof ad so effective? Because we feel “in” on the joke

Kelsey Formost

12 Dec 2019 · 2 min read


Ryan Reynolds just broke the internet with one of the most brilliant, hilarious (and simple) marketing moves we’ve seen in a while.

If you haven’t seen it, Reynold’s spirits company Aviation Gin created an ad starring the now-infamous “Peloton Wife”, Monica Ruiz. The original Peloton bike commercial received a huge backlash on the internet, leaving many feeling the ad portrayed outdated, sexist messages about marriage, gender dynamics and body image.

In the commercial, a husband gives his wife a workout bike, seemingly unprompted. The undertone of the spot makes it seem that the husband is encouraging his wife to lose weight. But perhaps the weirdest aspect of the commercial is the wife’s begrudging vlogging of her experience. She looks rather miserable talking to her camera phone, getting on her bike at 6 am alone while her family still sleeps.

Almost as soon as the ad aired, the wave of backlash from angry viewers came crashing down on the brand. But even though it was mostly negative noise, as the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. The fact was everyone was talking about Peloton.

Reynolds and Aviation Gin very smartly (and very quickly) jumped at the chance to capitalize on the Peloton commercial’s publicity, putting their own spin on the spin bike’s downfall and turning Peloton’s lemons into sweet, sweet gin-spiked lemonade.

In the gin commercial, we see Ruiz (aka “Peloton Wife”) out with girlfriends having a much-needed drink. Though they don’t explicitly call out Peloton by name, they continually allude to the commercial, saying things like, “you’re safe here,” and cheers-ing “to new beginnings”. There’s even a wink to her bike spot at the end of the commercial where one friend says, “you look great, by the way”.

So why does the gin ad work so well? It’s not humor itself… it’s the fact that it makes people feel like they’re “in” on the joke.

A sense of belonging is the most effective marketing tactic a brand can possibly cultivate. If a customer feels included, like they belong to a specific group by enjoying or investing in a product, then that breeds customer loyalty more effectively than anything else…

“Belonging” is the key to creating successful, ongoing customer relationships.

We all love this gin commercial because we feel like we’re in on the collective joke. We’re not just laughing at the commercial, we’re laughing with everyone else watching it at the same time.

It’s the same reason that nostalgia-marketing and parodies work so well. When content taps into that sense of shared experience, we are much more likely to pay attention.

That’s the core of why influencer marketing is so much more effective than traditional advertising. (11xs more effective, to be exact). When you can have immediate access to an already engaged audience with a shared sense of experience and affinities, you are taking a short cut to that elusive sense of belonging to a group.

Influencer marketing allows brands to join a group that’s already thriving rather than invest time, energy, and capital to create one from scratch.

Want to learn more about how Influencer Marketing can help your brand efforts? Download our free PDF e-book, “The 4 Essential Steps to Influencer Marketing Success”.

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