Peloton Shares Ride Higher As Investors Backpedal on Christmas Ad Controversy

Peloton shares are recovering some of the $1.5 billion in market value they lost last week amid the controversy linked to its Christmas ad campaign.
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Peloton Interactive shares traded higher Monday following a weekend of publicity linked to its controversial Christmas ad campaign.

Monica Ruiz, the actor who played the so-called "Peloton Wife", appeared in a new commercial for Aviation American Gin over the weekend, spoofing her role in the now-infamous ad for Peloton's eponymous exercise machine it called "The Gift That Gives Back".

Aviation Gin, a drinks company owned by Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, Tweeted the ad -- titled "Gift Responsibly" -- on Saturday and has since notched more than 5 million views, as well as new wave of free publicity for the original Peloton ad campaign.

Peloton shares marked 2% higher in early trading Monday to change hands at $33.25 each, as investors looked to claw back some of the $1.5 billion the stock shed in value over a three-day stretch that followed the ad's debut on December 2.

Peloton's 30-second ad depicted a seemingly upper middle class -- and physically fit -- woman receiving the group's $2,200 exercise bike as a Christmas gift from her husband. She then chronicles her use of the machine over the following year, extolling its life-changing virtues and thanking her husband for the thoughtful gift.

Social media users, however, panned the ad as sexist in its suggestion that a man would subtly pressure his wife to alter her physical appearance. 

“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,” Peloton said in a statement provided to several media outlets. “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,” the statement added.