Sometimes we need to look back at past mistakes to remind us about good marketing and things to watch out for. Here’s a throwback post from 2019:

The Christmas ad of the season is the Peloton ad where the husband gives his wife an exercise bike that apparently changes her life. The over-the-topness of the ad and the frankly strangeness of the dynamics between the husband and wife, and her emotion over receiving the bike, quickly gained national attention, and not in a good way.

An article in the Washington Post said of the ad:

The woman wears an eerie expression as she climbs onto her new Peloton for the first time. She’s sort of smiling, sort of grimacing. She looks as if she might burst into tears.

“I’m a little bit nervous. But excited,” she says, not at all convincingly, at the start of the pricey stationary bicycle company’s new commercial.

It was a look that spawned a thousand Twitter jokes. To some, the young mother — who spends the majority of the 30-second ad toiling away on the bike after her husband gives it to her for Christmas — looked like a hostage.

And while people may be laughing at the ad, another brand found a way to capitalize on it. (Peloton, by the way, had their stock value fall 9 percent after the ad debuted but the brand is also part of national conversation right now, so we’ll see how many the sell during the holiday season).

Ryan Reynolds and Aviation Gin took a social media moment, and made a new ad for the gin brand. The woman from the Peloton ad is now out with her friends, drinking to “new beginnings” and looks like she escaped from her husband who gifted her the bike. It’s hilarious, gained huge attention for the alcohol brand, and was a creative way to capitalize on a social media moment for their own brand.

One brand scoring points off the foibles of another is a time honored tradition in advertising, and finding ways to turn something offensive, tone-deaf, or otherwise cringe worthy into a benefit for your own brand can pay off big.

-Chelsea, 2019