Why Peloton went all-in on its community for the Olympics
Not many fitness brands can claim Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix, John John Florence and Kathleen Baker as members of their community.
But Peloton can. The fitness brand, known for its connected bikes and treadmills, claims a subscriber base 2 million strong that includes top-tier athletes who used its equipment and classes to stay in tip-top shape at home during the pandemic.
When the Olympics rolled around, despite uncertainty about the optics of hosting the Games while COVID-19 cases spiked in Japan, Peloton wanted to use a big moment where the world was coming together to make a statement about the power of its community.
“We wanted to show the world who we are on the biggest stage,” said Bryant Brennan, SVP of global creative at Peloton Interactive. “We wanted to let them know what we’re all about — that support, that collective. If someone is down, someone will lift you up. It’s an invitation for people who are not into Peloton just yet and a love letter to our members.”
Peloton brought on Adam&EveDDB New York to help build the campaign, which grew out of the seed of the brand’s community, said James Rowe, managing director at the Omnicom shop.
“They’ve got a great product, but there’s something more here,” he said. “That sense of community allowed us to strike a more emotional tone in our work.”
Beyond a TV commercial featuring Olympic athletes that are also Peloton users, the brand kicked off the “Champions Collection,” a series of live classes where members could work out alongside Olympic athletes. Peloton also worked with those athletes, alongside its instructors, to develop new workouts for the platform.
“These aren’t celebrity endorsements,” Brennan said. “These are Peloton members working out on the platform every day.”
While Peloton declined to share exactly how many people tuned into the Champions Collection, Brennan said “tens of thousands” signed up to ride alongside Usain Bolt alone.
“Each one of these programs began to pull people into the platform on the bike, the tread and app,” Brennan said. “It went across our entire ecosystem.”
The ability to work out alongside world-class athletes demonstrated how Peloton’s community levels the playing field, Brennan added. That sentiment was supported by an out-of-home campaign in cities including New York and Los Angeles that showed Peloton members standing alongside Olympic athletes.
“Everyone is equal in our world,” Brennan said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re Usain Bolt; you will be riding along with us.”
The campaign was the result of a collaboration between Adam&EveDDB and Peloton’s 130 person-strong in-house creative team. Led by Brennan, Peloton’s creative studio employs creatives, producers and designers and handles everything from product and packaging design to retail presence to member retention efforts.
Peloton, which also has an in-house media team, does not have an AOR and taps into external partners based on strategic needs.
Having a creative team in-house “allows a shorthand language of creative campaigns” to thrive, which “fuels the ability to push innovative creative,” Brennan said. “We think that’s modern and innovative.”
Rowe added that working with a strong in-house team “allows us to get the idea into the world in different ways.”
“We’re speaking to the apparel, retail, product and content teams,” he said. “Our ideas go further and you get a way more integrated set of assets and experience.”
Adam&EveDDB, based in London, launched its New York office in 2016 after winning a pitch for Samsung’s North America business. The agency has since grown to about 65 people and works with 16 clients including Jim Beam, MolsonCoors and PepsiCo.