Are Peleton’s Wildly Expensive Newspaper Ads an Exercise in Futility?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and slogging through the Sunday New York Times (there really should be a federal subsidy for that, don’t you think?) when I came across this half-page ad.

That was followed by two more half-page Peloton ads and a full-page one – all in the Times A section, which on Sunday is the Ritz Carlton of advertising venues.

Here’s the thing, Doc: A woman I know – smart, well-read, beautiful – saw one of Peleton’s ads in the Times and this is all that registered with her.

Do Peloton’s ad people have any idea how real people see advertisements? I have my doubts.

– Peletone-Deaf?

Dear Peletone-Deaf,

For those of you keeping score at home, here are the other Peleton ads in Sunday’s Times.

A similar quartet of ads ran in Saturday’s Times and the Weekend Wall Street Journal.

As Phoebe Bain wrote in Marketing Brew earlier this month, “Between high supply and low customer acquisition, the brand’s marketing department is ‘under pressure to deliver,’ per Ad Age. Experts told the pub that fewer pricey campaigns and more investment in brand loyalists could be the company’s best plan of attack.”

Coincidentally, Monday’s Times featured an interview with new Peleton CEO Barry McCarthy – conducted by the paper’s DealBook macher Andrew Ross Sorkin and reporter Lauren Hirsch – in which McCarthy, the former chief financial officer of Spotify and Netflix, predictably came across as ten pounds of bravado in a five-pound bag.

As for the Peleton print ads, Peter Adams at Marketing Dive reported that “Peloton is pushing a new advertising campaign that includes testimonials from customers who were initially skeptical of the connected fitness brand but have since become loyal converts.”

Peloton’s latest ad campaign isn’t subtle. The marketer is throwing a spotlight on customers who have doubted it in the past but are now devoted to fitness regimens run through its connected bike and treadmill products. The implication is that Peloton will be able to weather its current headwinds based on its ability to foster long-term loyalty. Its services now wield about 6.6 million subscribers.

“This campaign is leading with the unvarnished voices of our members at a time of heightened skepticism because nothing is sharper than the truth,” said Dara Treseder, chief marketing officer of Peloton, in a press statement.

Those unvarnished voices, however, are not unanimous, as the Marketing Dive piece noted.

Posts on social media go deeper in profiling individual users who improved their lives thanks to Peloton. But digging into the comments reveals plenty of frustrated customers as well. Several Instagram users took the campaign as an opportunity to complain about no-show deliveries, issues with scheduling repairs on bikes and other technical issues — potential signs of the marketer’s broader operational issues.

Sounds like Peleton’s print campaign might turn out to be an overpriced coat rack.

Ride on . . .

Why Is OkCupid Ad Saying OkAbortions?

Well the Doc opened up the old mailbag today and here’s what poured out.

Dear Dr. Ads,

There I was, minding my own business and reading Adweek when I came across this report by Sara Century on the latest wrinkle in online dating.

OkCupid Relaunches ‘Every Single Person’ Campaign to Champion Reproductive Rights

One less-discussed element of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is the effect it has had on daters, with the conflicting concepts of social distancing and meeting new people causing trepidation for many. Likewise, a desire to discuss politics has shot up in recent years, creating further obstacles for casual dating.

With these barriers in mind, OkCupid is relaunching its “Every Single Person” campaign, which originally kicked off last fall. The brand is doubling down on its mission of inclusivity by adding a new pro-choice line across the NYC subway.

This campaign, which features 17 images, is the result of OkCupid’s 12-month effort to understand gender and identity in order to utilize technology that will appeal to as wide a variety of communities as possible. Brainstormed by OkCupid’s CMO Melissa Hobley and Devin Colleran, it features art by Maurizio Cattelan and photography by Pierpaolo Ferrari.

The dating service has even joined with Planned Parenthood “to create a badge that would assist users in matching with others that supported reproductive rights.”

Most companies wouldn’t associate themselves with the abortion issue at gunpoint. What gives, Doc.

– Are They OkStupid?

Dear ATO,

This one’s a corker, as my former associate Nurse Ads might say. (Nurse Ads is “former” because she’s off actually attending medical school.)

For starters, here are some of the groups that preceded the pro-choicers in the OkCupid campaign.

Fun fact to know and tell: According to Phoebe Bain’s report in Marketing Brew, three of those four ads were just rejected by officials at the Metropolitan Transit Authority, a.k.a. the New York subway system. You can probably guess which ones.

OkCupid’s pro-pro-choice ad comes in the wake of this viral video, which depicts a woman tearing down OkCupid ads on a New York subway train and has been viewed over 1.1 million times on YouTube during the past four months.

Devin Colleran, senior brand manager of OkCupid, told Adweek that “the homophobic rant in response to our campaign only empowered us to double down on our commitment to celebrate all kinds of identities and love both in our app and our marketing.”

As for abortion being the third rail for marketers, MediaPost’s Sarah Mahoney reports that “it’s all part of the brand’s ongoing mission to have users bring their entire selves to the dating process.”

“We want you to bring your issues — pun intended — to dating,” says Melissa Hobley, chief marketing officer. “That can include unapologetically supporting abortion. We want to make it ‘hot’ for people to commit to those issues to our dating app. If you’re pro-choice — and the majority of the country is — and can’t imagine dating someone who isn’t, then that’s a real and relevant issue.”

Real, relevant, and . . . risky.

Then again, that’s OkCupid’s choice