Ronn Torossian, one of America’s public relations executives has issued commentary on Peloton’s latest PR crisis. Torossian notes, “Just as things seemed to slow down for Peloton, they actually ended up getting worse.”
According to a report from CNN, a TV show character on Showtime’s Billions experienced a heart attack on the brand’s interactive bike. After that, one of the investors in Peloton, Blackwells Capital, which owns less than 5%, released a statement voicing grave concerns about the performance of the Peloton bikes. The investor also called on the board of directors to immediately fire the CEO of Peloton, John Foley.
New Peloton Incident
The only piece of good news coming from the situation for Peloton was the fact that the TV character on Billions did not pass away after the heart attack. However, a month earlier, a character on the Sex and the City reboot, and just like that… ended up suffering a fatal heart attack after riding one of the bikes.
According to an article from The New York Times, the executive producers of the rebooted show stated that the scene with the bike was written and filmed a year ago, months before the situation happened on screen. However, the show decided to change a line of dialogue about the character suffering a fatal heart attack in post-production. According to the producers, the line was changed because they found that the new one fit better with the storyline.
Regarding the Billions episode that featured the Peloton bike, the brand released a statement saying that it’s understandable why a fictional show wants to include a popular consumer brand. However, it added that the way that Showtime’s Billions decided to use the product and to reference the brand, didn’t align with Peloton’s IP and the way that it was used on the show. The company also noted that the show rightfully referenced how there are a lot of benefits to cardiovascular exercise, including the fact that they can help people lead very long and happy lives.
This situation is the latest in a string of PR crises that have struck Peloton. In May 2021, the brand announced a delayed recall of its latest treadmills. Several months later the brand decided to remove an online ad that featured the actor Chris Noth. This was because the Hollywood Reporter published an article where two women were accusing the actor of sexual assault. At the start of 2020, Peloton announced that it would be stopping the production of its treadmills and bikes because there was a decrease in demand from consumers.
This has been a long string of PR crises that Peloton has been facing, and there doesn’t seem to be a bright future for the company’s reputation. There are plenty of brands that can weather some bad publicity, but at this point, the company has reached a critical point of receiving so much bad publicity that it might be difficult to save the business.
Torossian’s book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations” is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.