How Peloton is Piggybacking on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

If you haven’t heard of the exercise equipment and fitness brand, Peloton, it’s possible you might be living under a rock. But don’t worry, we’ll fill you in. 

Founded in 2012, Peloton combines the world of fitness and technology to provide customers with an interactive, highly engaging, and community-based experience through a wide variety of workout classes that range in length, difficulty, and training styles.

According to Peloton, in 2020 the company’s sales hit an all-time high with its fiscal fourth-quarter revenue experiencing 172% growth totalling a whopping $607.1 million dollars. This growth, in part,  can be attributed to the  pandemic which has forced many to trade in their gym memberships positioning Peloton to become a permanent fixture in people’s homes.

More recently, coupled with its pandemic popularity, Peloton has ramped up its internal marketing efforts just in time for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games despite not being a formal sponsor. This leads us into the examination of how the leading fitness brand, Peloton is using the momentum of the Olympic games to amplify its brand identity, brand value, and brand awareness.

Introduced by the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”), Rule 40 prohibits Olympic athletes, including their name, image, or sporting performance, from appearing in advertising during a ‘blackout period’. On February 11, 2021, the IOC revised guidance for the Tokyo 2021 Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, which has loosen restrictions on these types of activities allowing formal and current olympic athletes to appear content beyond olympic sponsors. 

So, what does this mean for non-sponsors including Peloton? Should all advertising rules and regulations be abided by, this allows companies the opportunity to partner with former and current athletes with the exception that the material doesn’t include the olympic logo or words outlined under the Athlete Marketing/Rule 40 Guidelines.

Peloton took on the challenge and recently launched the Champions Collection. The first advertisement features nine athletes which appear throughout the video training and competing followed by the words “train like a champion”. According to Peloton, users are welcomed to “join [the] nine athletes from the global Peloton community; Usain Bolt, Allyson Felix, Andre De Grassie, Angelique Kerber, Beck & Ellie Downie, Join Join Florence, Kathleen Baker, and Scout Basses, as they push [riders] to train like the champion [they] are”. Over the next few months, riders are invited to participate in a variety of sessions featuring training recommendations, music playlists, and special appearances.

With the 2021 Tokyo Olympics around the corner, it doesn’t take much for the average consumer to connect the dots and know that the advertisement is indeed referencing the Olympic Games. Though, there are specific elements of the campaign that deserve to be highlighted:

Relevancy

Peloton has successfully fostered a community of supportive, empowered, and inspiring riders by allowing them to “discover the best version of themselves through the power of sweat”.

At Peloton, everyone is treated like an athlete so the partnership with the nine olympic athletes was effortless in nature allowing them to target similar audiences and furthermore, form a genuine connection and affiliation to the Olympic brand - leading us into the next point. 

Affiliation

Instead of investing millions to become a formal sponsor of the Olympic Games, brands including Peloton, have instead chosen to invest its dollars in long-term partnerships with top athletes, possessing the same audience base and credibility. By doing so, they now hold the rights to advertise by indirect affiliation given that they abide by the rules and regulations set out by the IOC. 

Even by indirect advertising, brands are able to strengthen its value, notoriety, and further target its audience by affiliating themselves with olympic athletes but additionally, a historic, international event.

Results

Now let’s get to the fun part. Results! So far, Peloton has done an outstanding job of aligning itself with the Olympic Games and this is just the beginning. So, the question remains, what will these efforts do for the brand in terms of sales and overall brand awareness?

Increase credibility? Help further define the brand and its mission? Increase sales? Will they receive positive consumer chatter on social media, etc? We’ll be watching very closely over the next couple of months to see how this particular campaign unfolds and you can expect an update!

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About the Author:

As a Public Relations Account Lead, Anneliese focuses predominantly on media relations, while also managing day-to-day client communication, influencer campaigns, partnership opportunities, strategy development, and event coordination and support.