How Peloton buys the narrative to reverse the narrative

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How to reverse a narrative? By joining

One of the many now useless ‘skills’ I developed during the Covid lockdowns was the ability to memorize the cycle of adverts on the TV channels I was watching, the same way you know which track is going track on your most played Spotify playlist or favorite album.

So it was almost without fail that I could predict when the Peloton commercial was about to air, with its virtual instructors barking orders at well-sculpted actors as they pedaled frantically to Imanbek’s remix of Roses of Saint Jhn.

Peloton was of course one of the few companies to thrive during the pandemic, but things have changed a bit since then. You will have read of sweeping changes to the business – a new chief executive has been installed and 2,800 jobs cut in a bid to cut costs – as it tries to arrest a slide that has seen its market value fall from US$50 billion to US$8 billion.

There have also been some not-so-subtle changes to Peloton’s marketing strategy. Gone was the somewhat fanciful motivational rhetoric, which was replaced with an acknowledgment of where the company is today.

Indeed, if you scroll the Platoon Twitter Page you’ll find that the account admin has been busy retweeting old posts from users who were once skeptical of the exercise bike maker, many of whom have been reappear on billboards in malls and city centers. One Twitter user, for example, recalled that she “used to hate ‘peloton people'”, but now she’s “one of those ‘peloton people'”.

All of this was accompanied by a 30-second TV commercial that focuses on members of the Peloton community and reminisces about why they signed up for the connected fitness service in the first place. It tells the stories of individuals most people can probably relate to, unlike the old Peloton adverts which perhaps painted unrealistic images of what someone really looks like when piggybacking on a bike. exercise.

In a press release issued by Adage, Peloton’s global marketing manager explained that the campaign relies on the voices of company members because “nothing is louder than the truth”. Peloton’s recent struggles have fueled the narrative that the connected fitness boom won’t survive the pandemic. But the company hopes endorsements from those who have had positive experiences with its subscription service can help clear up some of the doubts about the brand’s longevity.

Time will tell if it actually works, but there’s something more honest about acknowledging the problem and dealing with it head-on, both in your internal and external messaging.


Sport regains its spine but…

Is it too little, too late?

This newsletter has regularly asked what it would take for the sport to start putting morals before money, and it turns out that all-out war is when most of the rights-holders decided to come to their senses.

There’s been a lot to follow over the past week, so here’s a quick recap of some of the biggest sponsorship deals – together worth hundreds of millions of dollars – that have been hit so far:

The above looks like the tip of a very large iceberg, and this graph shared last week by Simon Chadwick illustrates just how far Russia’s tentacles stretch when it comes to sports sponsorship.

Rights holders have resisted pressure on their sponsorship deals in the past, but have had little choice in this case as the factors involved are far more important than the sport. In the same way as Western companies like Nike rushed to suspend business operations in Russia, federations, leagues and teams seem eager to cut ties with their Russian partners in the name of good public relations – whether or not that makes a difference.

And that is to say that the praise has not really been there. As Chadwick suggested on this week’s SportsPro podcast‘it’s almost as if Western sport has gone into sleepwalking without facing some of the tough issues’, so it hardly deserves a pat on the back now for ending partnerships that might have been deemed risky and initially immoral.

All of this raises further questions about where and how difficult it is to draw the line – something many federations have considered in recent days as they consider what action to take against Russian and Belarusian athletes.

Why, for example, is it fair to end sponsorships with companies in one country on moral grounds, but continue with entities in nations with their own human rights issues?

It also makes you wonder whose job it is to decide all of this. Should we expect business leaders – whose primary responsibility is ultimately to generate revenue, wherever they come from – to be experts in geopolitics and soft power, or do we need regulation? stricter on who can sponsor what from above?

It is hopeless that it took something as tragic as war to bring these issues to light, but the ripple effects of what is happening right now could be dramatic. I don’t have to answer the aforementioned questions, but I increasingly feel that someone has to – and preferably someone in a position of greater authority than the SportsPro Deputy Editor.


Give your opinion II

If you haven’t already, this is your last chance to complete a survey to let us know your thoughts on the current state of the sponsorship and marketing industry and where you see the future going.

As a thank you for your time, we add:

  • Five free passes at SportsPro Live at the Kia Oval in April
  • An invitation to attend our exclusive Executive Forum on the State of Sponsorship
  • The opportunity to appear on the main conference stage for a live debate

I hope this – combined with my personal appreciation – sounds like a decent exchange for ten minutes of your time.


Top Resellers

There seems to be no shortage of brands to compete in the inaugural Miami Grand Prix later this year. In February, the race organizers announced the creation of partnerships with Hard Rock (shock), Red Bull and gainbridgeas well as an event support agreement with AutoNationin addition to a title sponsorship with Crypto.com.


Five deals you may have missed


Three things I read

1. There are currently some decent shopping guides on the SportsPro site, the most recent of which has everything you need to know about the new MLS, IndyCar and Nascar seasons.

2. If you haven’t taken the time to read yet this detailed report on the Manchester City sponsorship portfolio, so do it now. It’s worth it just for the part where two agencies were 100 million euros apart on their valuations for a sponsorship deal.

3. One of the big headlines was that blockchain investment in sports sponsorship is expected to reach US$5 billion by 2026, but the new global sports marketing report well worth a scan.


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