Holiday season advertising is upon us and Peloton caused quite a stir online with their latest holiday ad. Now, Ryan Reynolds got the actress at the center of the company’s strange commercial to star in an ad for his Gin Company. The clip begins with her looking into the camera and uncomfortable silence for nearly twenty seconds as “Grace in Boston” sits with her friends at a bar. (You can tell it is the holidays because of the way the entire place is done up.) She then says, “This gin is really smooth.” Her friends then reply that they can get her another one and that the bar that they are in is a safe space. Then they toast to new beginnings. Reynold’s ad is absolutely on the nose, but also a hilarious riff on the entire social media firestorm an otherwise straightforward commercial caused on social media this week.
Our friend Jenna Anderson described the bizarre commercial like this, “A young woman (who we later learn is "Grace in Boston"), whose husband gives her a Peloton bike on Christmas morning. Grace gradually begins to use the bike, while awkwardly vlogging the whole process in short Instagram Stories-esque videos, and gradually becomes more accustomed to the Peloton lifestyle. The commercial ends with Grace showing a compilation of the videos to her husband, as a sort of thank you for motivating her by buying the bike. ‘A year ago, I didn't realize how much this would change me,’ Grace eventually proclaims in the video.”
So, of course, there is a ton to unpack with all of that content. The poor guy in that commercial is now saying that his part could actively damage his career, which is not what you want from a small part in an ad for a stationary bike. Here’s hoping the actress in question is in line for a Rebecca Black-style revival that actually improves her career prospects after all of this discourse slides away. For their part, Peloton is sticking by their ad and saying that they found nothing troubling about the entire endeavor.
CBS News is reporting that the ad has cost the company and its shareholders $1.6 billion with the stunt. Critics are saying that the ad was sexist, classiest and promoting unhealthy body image. Reynolds’ ad just plays off that last one pretty effectively. The source of all this controversy originally started making the rounds in November but found critical mass this week. Peloton’s shares have plunged 15% since Monday when social media really started to get their hands on it.
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.