How Peloton Abandoned Their Tribe with Bad Marketing

How Peloton Abandoned Their Tribe with Bad Marketing

When I first heard that Peloton, the exercise bike company, was being criticized for an advertisement, I cringed a little.

I like Peloton.

They had won me over as a customer several months ago.

At first, I thought it was outrageous to pay big bucks for an exercise bike with a TV stuck to it. But when my wife suggested we get one, I did some research and saw how much buyers liked it. So, I thought it was worth a try.

In short, my whole family loves it. We all use it regularly.

Because Peloton had won me over I thought, “well, the ad is probably not as bad as people are making it out to be.”

But then I watched it, and yes. It’s bad.

I won’t speak to the issues brought up on the Internet (there are several of why it’s so bad. I agree it’s bad on a lot of those levels, too.

But I largely think they messed up by forgetting the Peloton itself, meaning the Tribe.

The word “peloton” comes from the French. It means “the main field of racers in a bike race”. The literal meaning is a “small ball”. So, in other words, it’s a tight-knit group. A peloton is a type of Tribe.

In modern marketing, the Tribe is everything. With so many purchase choices, marketers have to understand why people buy. The Tribe concept is central to understanding how consumers choose which products to be loyal to.

Seth Godin won me over to the Tribe idea in 2008 when he published [Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us]. The main thing to know about a Tribe, Seth says, is that you can never own a tribe or have one. You can only belong to one.

If you are lucky, you may get to lead a Tribe for a while. But you have to remember that the Tribe always lets you lead. The Tribe is never something you can control. The Tribe is always something you serve, mostly by being a member who “gets it”.

I am a member of the Peloton tribe. I get it. I am a true believer.

If you came to my house and asked about the bike, I’d want you to experience it by riding it. I now realize this is kind of weird, as I type that out, but there you go. Tribes can be weird.

A major reason Peloton’s ad is so bad is that it completely disregards the Peloton Tribe.

Don’t get me wrong. There were many other mistakes in the creation of that ad. (For example, ask yourself…who’s the hero? The wife or the husband? The viewer? And what’s up with all the camera perspective shifts?)

The tribe is not made out to be the hero, for sure. We, the Peloton were completely disregarded by the ad. We were totally left out.

People like us ride the Peloton. As for those people in the ad…who are they?

LAST EDIT: 2019-12-05
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