Last week the world was both horrified and entertained in a grim way by a viral ad for an exercise bike in the now-infamous Peloton commercial that’s been compared to an episode of Black Mirror. Since the commercial's viral fame took off, the actress that appeared in the spot, Monica Ruiz, has gone on to appear in another ad that serves as a meta follow-up to the Peloton spot. That ad happens to be promoting Aviation Gin, a company partially owned by internet denizen and all-around funny guy Ryan Reynolds, which takes a humorous approach to the entire situation while also delivering a good ad for Aviation.
Since both ads have debuted, Ruiz has begun appearing on talk shows to discuss both the original viral ad and her hilarious follow-up. Earlier this morning she appeared on The Today Show where she talked about the experience of working on the original ad. Coincidentally, Reynolds himself happened to be appearing on the show in a later segment. so Today managed to get them both on! Reynolds opened up about how quickly their "sequel" ad came together and the thought process behind it all.
"It started with a text to my creative partner George Dewey," Reynolds said. "He sent me the ad, I watched it and I went 'Oh why, I see why there's some backlash.' So I said 'Can we just send her a year's supply of gin? She doesn't have to film herself.' And that sort of evolved from there."
"We love acknowledging and playing with the cultural landscape and we thought this was a great opportunity to do something. You see how everything is sort of divisive these days, one camp here, one camp there, but we had this thought that we could do this ad without contributing to that divide, without vilifying anybody, just sort of commenting on both the person and the actress in the ad all at once. So for us it seemed like a no brainer, and it was a lot of fun to do. It was a rush, we did this thing in 36 hours.
When asked how it felt to have no only been in a commercial for Reynolds' product, but to be sitting next to him on The Today Show, Ruiz said: "I'm like in an alternate universe right now, this is so weird."
The original Peloton commercial follows a woman who receives a Peloton exercise bike from her husband for Christmas. It then follows her progress as she uses her bike throughout the year. Some viewers found the commercial creepy, saw the husband as a controlling abuser, and felt the ad was sexist. The company’s stock dropped $1.6 billion following the backlash.
The Aviation Gin ad seems to be a continuation of the wife’s story. She’s out with friends and uses Aviation Gin to toast to “new beginnings,” even as one of her friends notices how great she looks.