The maker of high-end at-home fitness equipment last month rolled out a holiday ad that implores viewers to "give the gift of Peloton," which had onlookers complaining about what they saw as undertones of sexism and classism in the ad. Though the ad first ran on Nov. 4, according to iSpot.tv, the commercial more recently went viral on Twitter.
"We constantly hear from our members how their lives have been meaningfully and positively impacted after purchasing or being gifted a Peloton Bike or Tread, often in ways that surprise them," a company spokesperson said in an email. "Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we're disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by — and grateful for — the outpouring of support we've received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate."
Accompanying its statement, Peloton sent CNBC PDF documents of positive emails it had received about the ad, from which last names and email addresses were redacted, as well as one Facebook post in support of the spot.
The company's shares went negative shortly after CNBC published the statement. The stock was down as much as 6% midafternoon Wednesday. It ended the day down 1.55%.
In an investor note Tuesday, Raymond James analysts commented that the "significant backlash" to this particular ad likely wouldn't sting in the long run, noting that Black Friday traffic appeared solid and that its affordability campaign is "compelling."
"While reactions to the holiday ad are disappointing, we do not expect it will adversely affect holiday demand," the analysts said. "We do believe Peloton may review its marketing strategy, given the frequency in which its ads are parodied on social media."
Here are the emails and Facebook post Peloton sent to CNBC:
Disclosure: CNBC parent Comcast-NBCUniversal is an investor in Peloton.