Tag Archives: public relations

Peloton’s Holiday Ad: The Peloton Wife

 

It must be the time of year for controversial advertising campaigns. Earlier this month we wrote about South Dakota’s “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign, which provoked many people to post their reactions on social media. The “Meth. I’m on it.” campaign was designed to focus attention on combatting the prevalence of meth in South Dakota and starting conversations about the problems of meth addiction.b

But now, with a seemingly straightforward advertising campaign, Peloton has entered the social media collective consciousness and has generated a lot of negative buzz. The company’s new holiday campaign features a woman receiving a Peloton bike for Christmas, and chronicles her experience over the next year.

At first glance, the ad shows a lovely holiday scene of a husband giving his wife an exercise bike for Christmas. However, viewers quickly made their negative opinions known on social media, criticizing the company for being sexist as well as being elitist. The wife is thin and attractive; the house looks large and luxurious. (A Peloton bike is priced at $2,245, plus a monthly video subscription for interactive classes at an additional $39/month.)

Peloton has stated it stands by the ad and that it hears regularly from customers about how the bike has changed their lives for the better. The actors also stated that the commercial was a very positive experience, despite the pushback from social media. So why the criticism? And what should happen when a company offends people?

One company that quickly followed up on the controversy was Aviation Gin, owned by actor Ryan Reynolds. The same actress was cast in a humorous commercial that seemed to show her a little shell-shocked after the first commercial and in need of a little relaxation.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Show the Peloton Website: https://www.onepeloton.com/
  3. Show the original ‘peloton Wife’ video: https://youtu.be/pShKu2icEYw
  4. What are the students’ opinions? Have the students use their phones and devices to search for commentary about the campaign online.
  5. Next, show the same actress in the Aviation Gin commercial: https://youtu.be/H2t7lknrK28
  6. What are student’s opinions about this ad and message?
  7. How does this ad play off the original ad?

Source:  Advertising Week; Bloomberg News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

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South Dakota’s Unusual Anti-drug Campaign

Provocative marketing campaigns can be risky and backfire on the sender. And then other times, the campaign can hit a chord and start a broader conversation about the topic. Which of these are the case for the new South Dakota campaign against methamphetamine?

The ‘Meth. I’m on it.’ campaign was designed to focus attention on combatting the prevalence of meth in South Dakota. According to reports, meth abuse accounted for roughly 83% of court admissions for controlled substance cases in 2019 in South Dakota. The state saw a 200% increase in people seeking treatment for meth addition from 2014 to 2018. The campaign’s main call to action is to encourage everyone in the state to work together on combatting meth and its effect on the population.

But of course, the campaign generated conversation and controversy on social media outlets as viewers weighed in on the message. Many people were concerned, confused, and outright dismissive of the campaign. But the South Dakota governor replied that the “whole point of this ad campaign is to raise awareness.” They wanted to set a tone that would make people stop and pay attention. The campaign is also part of a broader effort to rethink offenses and increase treatments. The key point from the campaign that is that everyone is affected by meth.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  3. Show a video of the ‘Meth. We’re on it.’ Campaign: https://youtu.be/7LVcI-DQdYA
  4. There are also plenty of news commentary videos available to discuss the campaign from a search on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0blILDdvHSw
  5. What are the students’ opinions? Have the students use their phones and devices to search for commentary about the campaign online.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid around a social or health topic. Can they take a risk but make their point?
  7. Have each team present their topic and message. What’s the opinion of the class about these?

Source:  Advertising Week; Bloomberg News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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Tesla’s Cybertruck – Public Relations in Action

Students often wonder how public relations is used as a promotional tool. Compared to advertising – which is very transparent – public relations and news releases are hidden from the view of most consumers. Yet, public relations is a critical tool in the marketing toolbox. It is relatively inexpensive (compared to advertising), can be targeted to specific news outlets, can be easily focused on a specific geography and industry, is a simple way to “influence the influencers,” and it lends an aura of credibility when consumers read a story in the news.

Although public relations may look like independent news, all of the efforts are initiated by marketers in order to get attention from the media. Think of it this way: The target market is comprised of editors and writers for news releases, not the consumer. The news releases are focused on providing important information that the consumers of the media outlets want to hear about.

One company that stands above the rest when it comes to public relations is Tesla. The company is a non-stop news-making machine, headed by CEO Elon Musk.

  • Tesla uses social media extensively. It does not use traditional advertising, but instead relies on media coverage to help promote its products.
  • In November the company announced a live stream of an event in Los Angeles preceding the LA Auto Show, held at Tesla’s Design Center. This event launched the new electric Cybertruck, retailing for $39,900 – $69,900.
  • Tesla also provided information on its Web site about the new truck.
  •  In less than a week following the announcement, an estimated 150,000+ pre-orders (at $100 each) have been placed for Cybertruck, and there were millions of web hits and stories generated.
  • All this was accomplished with broken windows in the demonstration, but without a single paid advertisement!

So now tell us, where does news come from?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by discussing the value of public relations.
  2. A video of the news release distribution process can be seen at: https://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/
  3. Use the ‘Tesla Cybertruck’ announcement as a PR example. Have students do a search on the phrase using their phones or laptops.
  4. How many hits are there? How many videos? Does the news expand to outside of the U.S.? What is estimated the dollar value of this reach?
  5. Compare the information in several articles with the information included on Tesla’s Web site: https://www.tesla.com/cybertruck
  6. Have students select a company or product. Then, have students find business articles in the news and trace the articles back to information provided by companies.

Source:  Bloomberg; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; CNN News; Wired magazine, other news sources

 

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