Peloton’s $50 million workout and broadcast center in New York. In the spring of 2018 — in the days before Peloton was ubiquitous — the company set out to make a TV ad cool enough to wipe away the perception that its internet-connected bike was a suburban mom thing.
CEO and now-billionaire John Foley — a former president of ecommerce at Barnes & Noble — wanted to shoot for the moon, suggesting licensing tracks from bands he loved, including The Rolling Stones. Why not? The music budget was triple what it usually would be, according to a former employee.
Eventually, Peloton landed Jay-Z’s “On to the Next One,” which brought the company a measure of cachet. A few months later, Peloton’s pull was such that it could ask — and get — Meghan Trainor to record a cover of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” in less than a week for another ad, says the former employee.
That year, 2018, also marked a metamorphosis in the company’s brand, from being known for its bikes to being known for its content. That summer was when Peloton first released its digital app, allowing people who didn’t (yet) want to pony up for pricey Peloton bikes (and treadmills) to tap into the cult of instructors like Robin Arzón (who now has 770,000 followers on Instagram) and Cody Rigsby (730,000 followers). It was also when Peloton announced it had closed a $550 million round of fundraising to build “a media company akin to Netflix,” as Foley put […]