Mentality Matters: Peloton Takes Back the Narrative with its Chris Noth Ad… Then Loses it Again

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Mentality Matters: Peloton Takes Back the Narrative with its Chris Noth Ad…
Then Loses it Again

December 17, 2021

On December 9, HBO Max aired the first episode of the highly anticipated ‘Sex and the City’ reboot. While the conversation leading up to the show’s release had centered around the absence of one leading actress, Kim Cattral, the focus quickly shifted once the episode aired and Chris Noth’s character, known to fans as “Mr. Big,” died from a heart attack after completing his one thousandth Peloton ride.

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

This unfortunate positioning for Peloton within the highly anticipated series left the brand scrambling amongst public discussions about the character’s death being linked to his Peloton use and the subsequent drop in the brand’s stock price.

Peloton moved quickly with Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist and member of Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, releasing a statement to The Times citing Mr. Big’s extravagant lifestyle as the cause of his fatal heart attack, adding that “riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”

But Peloton’s response did not end there.

Incredibly, the brand created an ad in less than 48 hours in partnership with Maximum Effort, a digital marketing agency co-founded by Ryan Reynolds and George Dewey.

The ad starred Chris Noth and provided a clever response to the unflattering product placement in the ‘Sex and the City’ reboot.

The ad was posted on Peloton’s social media accounts on December 12th; Peloton’s stock added $900 million in value on Monday following the ad’s debut and their social engagement skyrocketed.

Chris Noth Teams Up With Ryan Reynolds...YouTube video

What insights does this story and its multiple dimensions offer for brands?

To get some context on the layers of Peloton’s role in the popular ‘Sex and the City’ reboot and the brand’s speedy public response, review the chronology of major moments below, as told by a representative sample of online news articles throughout the story’s continuing timeline.

Keep in mind these articles and videos are just a handful of the thousands upon thousands of articles, opinions, social posts, videos, comments, etc. generated by this major viral moment.

Most actionable moments don’t reach this level of virality or last this long but these “big moments” are useful for gaining and sharing insights.

Photo by Tony Webster https://www.flickr.com/people/diversey/

For example, the initial spotlight quickly shifted from buzz around the sequel of the popular ‘Sex and the City’ series, to shock at the death of a popular character, to spotlighting Peloton as the potential cause of death, to Peloton’s resulting stock drop, to Peloton’s quick responses on social media, to their creation of an ad starring Chris Noth that expertly addressed the negative product placement, all in a matters of days.

Peloton expertly navigated this situation and turned a potential branding nightmare into a win within an impossibly tight timeframe. But this story isn’t just a best-in-class example of Advertising and PR, it’s also a potential opportunity for other brands in the exercise & wellness space and beyond to enter the conversation and capitalize on the viral and evolving story.

And then just like that…the story turned again.

On December 16, The Hollywood Reporter broke a story that two women had stepped forward and accused Noth of sexual assault.

Within hours, Pelton removed the new ad featuring Noth and stated it had been unaware of the allegations when it created and launched the ad and that “every single sexual assault accusation must be taken seriously.”

How would your brand have approached this story?

1. Does your brand have a way of monitoring PR controversies and public sentiment that allows for quick decisioning (such as Peloton’s quick ad creation)?

2. If you were a competitor of Peloton, would you have targeted, blocked, or monitored this emerging story when the episode first aired?

3. If you were a competitor of Peloton, would your action have changed after the story evolved and Peloton released their creative addressing the episode?

4. What about when the narrative turned again and Pelton pulled the ad following public allegations of sexual assault against Chris Noth?

Source: CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/16/peloton-removes-viral-chris-noth-ad-after-sexual-assault-allegations.html

Click this link to participate in a poll on these questions, and we’ll share the results with you via email.

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Peloton ‘And Just like That’ Story Chronology with representative content samples

Mentality Matters: Brand Insights from Virgil Abloh’s Sudden Passing

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Mentality Matters: Brand Insights from Virgil Abloh’s Sudden Passing

December 10, 2021

Virgil Abloh was a trailblazer in every sense of the word, and the announcement of his death due to cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer, at the age of 41 came as a shock to many.

Abloh, a first-generation Ghanaian American, was known for the influence he had on the contemporary fashion landscape through the creation of his luxury fashion label, Off-White, as well as his leadership as artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division.

Abloh’s influence and creativity extended far beyond the world of fashion. For example, he:

  • Made it his mission to mentor and support the talents of young Black creators,
  • Had a thriving DJ career that included performances at Lollapalooza and Coachella,
  • Created cover art for artists including Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and Yeezus,
  • Designed furniture including the popular Markerad collection for Ikea, and
  • Had a solo exhibition, “Figures of Speech,” at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

This list, shockingly, is not comprehensive, and represents just a few of Abloh’s accomplishments outside of his extensive and important work in fashion.

Virgil Abloh preferred to view himself as a “maker” rather than just a designer, and his curiosity and talent allowed him to impact culture through many lenses.

Virgil Abloh’s death was announced on November 28 and quickly became a top story, as his death represents a narrative on Black artists, health & wellness, fashion, music, art, and more.

What insights does this story and its multiple dimensions offer for brands?

Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech Author jpellgen https://www.flickr.com/photos/jpellgen/

To get some context, review the chronology of major moments below, as told by a representative sample of online news articles throughout the story’s continuing timeline.

Keep in mind these articles and videos are just a handful of the thousands upon thousands of articles, opinions, social posts, videos, comments, etc. generated by this major viral moment.

Most actionable moments don’t reach this level of virality or last this long but these “big moments” are useful for gaining and sharing insights.

For example, the spotlight quickly shifted from the announcement of Virgil Abloh’s death, to additional information on his private battle with a rare form of cancer, to high profile friends of the designer playing tribute to him and his work, to brands he had ties to honoring him at shows and in stores, to Art Basel recognition, all in a matters of days.

Virgil Abloh’s connection to brands was far reaching, as the founder of the cult brand Off-White and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division. With Off-White, Abloh collaborated with dozens of premium brands and companies, including Rimowa, Mercedes Benz, the NBA, Levi’s, Moncler, Jimmy Choo, Kith, Timberland, Byredo, and, perhaps most notably, Nike.

Virgil Abloh’s first ad campaign for Louis Vuitton, on MLK Day 2019 Author Steve Jurvetson https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/

How would your brand have approached this story and all the content it has generated?

1. Does your brand routinely target content in the Fashion category?

2. Does your brand have a multicultural marketing strategy?

3. Does your brand distinguish specific content around death, or completely avoid headlines about death?

4. If you were a competitor of Nike (one of Virgil Abloh’s most notable collaborating brands), would you want to target or block news around Virgil Abloh?

Click this link to participate in a poll on these questions, and we’ll share the results with you via email.

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Virgil Abloh Story Chronology with representative content samples

Mentality Matters: Brand Insights from the Rerelease of Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’

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Mentality Matters: Brand Insights from the Rerelease of Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’

December 6, 2021

Taylor Swift’s rerelease of her album Red became a widespread news story and evolving cultural narrative over the past few weeks, with layers that included the topic of artist ownership in the music industry, nostalgic commentary on the Red album that was originally released in 2012, and new insight into Taylor’s past relationships—a topic she famously focuses on in her songwriting.

Swift’s official release of Red (Taylor’s Version) took place on November 12 and instantly became a cultural fixation because of Taylor Swift’s global star power, but buzz around the release was largely magnified because of the multifaceted nature of the album release.

What insights does this story and its multiple dimensions offer for brands?

To get some context, review the chronology of major moments below, as told by a representative sample of online news articles throughout the story’s continuing timeline.

Taylor Swift RED Tour (8642419792).jpg Author Jana Beamer https://www.flickr.com/people/94347223@N07/

Keep in mind these articles and videos are just a handful of the thousands upon thousands of articles, opinions, social posts, videos, comments, etc. generated by this major viral moment.

Most actionable moments don’t reach this level of virality or last this long but these “big moments” are useful for gaining and sharing insights.

For example, the spotlight quickly shifted from villainizing Scooter Braun for purchasing the masters to Swift’s music in 2019, to Taylor Swift’s actual album release and the updated contents of the “Taylor’s Version” album, to a massive response

against Jake Gyllenhaal, (who Swift’s relationship with in 2012 is believed to be the focus of All Too Well—10 Minute Version), back to Taylor Swift performing the new version of All Too Well on SNL, all in a matters of days.

Taylor Swift boasts one of the most expensive celebrity endorsements of all time with a $26 Million deal with Diet Coke, along with notable partnerships with Apple, CoverGirl, Keds, and Capital One.

With her massive global appeal and sponsorship deals, when Taylor Swift stories break, brands best be prepared to act.

A Conversation with Jake Gyllenhaal: Author Daniel Benavides from Austin, TX https://www.flickr.com/people/52309209@N02

How would your brand have approached this story and all the content it has generated?

1. Does your brand routinely target content in the Music category?

2. Does your brand routinely target content in the Entertainment category?

3. If your brand had a way to distinguish content that is part of a larger story (e.g., Taylor Swift’s performance of All Too Well on SNL vs. Jake Gyllenhaal receiving public backlash from All Too Well relationship coverage), would you utilize this ability in your content selection for media campaigns?

4. If your brand had a turnkey way to incorporate major cultural moments into your earned or paid media, would you utilize it?

Click this link to participate in a poll on these questions, and we’ll share the results with you via email.

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Red (Taylor’s Version) Story Chronology with representative content samples

November 11

Scooter Braun Reportedly Thought Taylor Swift Was Bluffing About Re-Recording Her Albums

November 12

Taylor Swift’s Re-Recordings Expose The Music Industry’s Chokehold On Intellectual Property

Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers’s ‘Red’ Duet, and 14 More New Songs

The Story Behind Taylor Swift’s 10-minute Version of ‘All Too Well,’ The Song Making Fans Lose Their Minds

Brands Are Feeling 22 After Taylor Swift’s New ‘Red’ Release

November 13

Taylor Swift Delivers Passionate Performance of ‘All Too Well’ on ‘Saturday Night Live’

Cardi B Reacts to Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ Short Film

November 14

On SNL, Taylor Swift Stopped Time

A Lot Of Taylor Swift’s Famous Friends (And One Famous Ex) Came To See Her Perform On “SNL”

November 15

Taylor Swift’s ‘All Too Well’ and the Weaponization of Memory

Taylor Swift’s ‘I Bet You Think About Me’ Lyrics Seem Full Of Jabs At Ex Jake Gyllenhaal

November 16

Scooter Braun Sells Taylor Swift’s Big Machine Masters for Big Payday

Dionne Warwick has a message for Jake Gyllenhaal about Taylor Swift’s scarf

A Comprehensive Explanation of Why Taylor Swift Fans Seem Ready to Commit Homicide on Jake Gyllenhaal

It’s me, Taylor Swift’s scarf. I’m here to tell my side of ‘All Too Well’ (Scarf’s Version)

November 17

iHeart Promises to Only Play Taylor Swift’s New Versions of Her Songs, Once They’re Out

Taylor Swift’s Quest for Justice

Jake Is ‘Mortified’ Taylor ‘Targeted’ Him For Dating a 25-Year-Old on Her New Album