Detective Stabler was Olivia Benson’s best partner in Law & Order: SVU, but now he’s the star of Peloton’s latest video ad.
And boy, does this 61-year-old give us something to look at… 😳
(I mean all that space in his home gym of course 😶)
Oh, yeah. He’s naked too.
Stabler (aka Chris Meloni) apparently works out naked in his home gym. I prefer shorts, but who am I to judge?
Now, I love this video ad for so many reasons:
- It has a strong message, great visual storytelling, and a solid strategy
- It’s funny
- I love Law & Order
- It’s a great example of what marketing videos can be
Great video marketing examples are not easy to come by. That’s why I’m going to break it down for you today.
*clears throat and attempts to sound like the Law & Order voice over guy*
A Simple Message For the Win
Peloton’s goal is simple: promote their app.
So they introduce the app, what it does, and end the video with a risk-free call to action.
The message is as clear as day. A clear message is the most important thing in your copy because people don’t buy confusing things. They buy when you tie your product/service to the real reasons why people buy— emotions.
But, that connections not clear if they’re confused. Before you do anything else with your script, make sure your message is clear to your target audience.
No Problem Here (In the Hook)
You probably noticed this video doesn’t open with a problem. Most copywriting formulas lead with a problem…
Unless the problem is so obvious or you’re a big name in your industry. Then you don’t need to.
Imagine McDonald’s telling you you’re hungry. Or Toyota banging on about how their cars last the longest.
What a waste of time.
In Peloton’s case, they’re a big name in the fitness equipment industry.
So for this ad, they acknowledge that’s what people know them for. Then point out what the audience doesn’t know–they have an app.
The jump between workout equipment and workout apps isn’t big, so Peloton didn’t need to harp on this pivot.
Which gives them time to get creative. Like they did with their hook.
Hook, Line and KEEP Your Audience In a Marketing Video
The hook for this video is brilliant. It immediately draws us in with:
- A statement that makes us curious
- A hunky shirtless celebrity the internet loves (and loves to look at–check out Meloni’s thirst tweets 😂)
- A naked Meloni (which is a pattern interrupt). He’s got the pixelated blur to keep things PG though.
It’s a clever hook that brings shock value and humor into the message to keep your attention. And it sets the tone for the rest of the video.
Check out the full ad:
You’ll notice the dialogue is as simple as it gets. The magic is in the visuals.
A Cheeky Visual Message 🍑
Last week, I talked about why Peloton’s message was strong. This week, it’s all about the visuals.
A lot of people focus on the dialogue though and ignore the other elements of a video script. That’s a mistake.
In a video, the audio and visuals need to work together. The audio gives us abstract concepts (like save time). And the visuals show us what those abstract concepts look like (ex: more time with friends).
But, in the Peloton ad, the audio and visuals are playfully misaligned.
Meloni is under the impression that we think he works out in a strange way.
And he thinks it’s because he uses the Peloton app.
So, he tells us why it’s great. It gets him motivated to do lots of different workouts!
With zero reference to how he is completely naked (well, he’s got socks and shoes on sometimes).
Seriously, not even batting an eye. The confidence on this man. It’s inspiring.
A misaligned verbal and visual message is risky because it can go wrong. If they are too misaligned, it’s distracting and people focus on watching or listening.
I saw a video once I thought was brilliant. The visuals were amazing. But I could only give a surface level summary of what the company offered, which meant I didn’t really understand it.
That’s not how you want your audience to feel after they watch your ads.
But Meloni’s feigned innocence to his nakedness being weird is why we want to watch.
It’s funny (and he’s hunky 😍).
People Love Humor in Video
People respond well to humor because it’s a pattern interrupt. Especially when it’s about something mundane.
Workout apps are a dime a dozen. So, another serious, “let’s get ripped!” ad would get lost in the sea of workout app promotions.
But at the same time, how funny can you make a workout app ad without being over the top?
It’s hard to strike the right balance.
Peloton went in the direction we didn’t expect. And this worked well for them.
They kept the dialogue simple and made the whole “being naked” thing a funny visual pattern interrupt.
The Dialogue = Snooze Fest. The Magic is in the Video’s Visuals
There isn’t much to the dialogue in the Peloton ad. It’s straight to the point. On its own, I doubt it would get much attention.
Its purpose is to give context without competing with the visual joke (the nakedness).
A naked Meloni working out and unaware of why that’s strange…is hilarous. I think the fact that he’s wearing socks and shoes in some scenes is even funnier.
And this keeps us watching.
This ad is a prime example of how important the visual message is.
Think about it. Would this ad be as engaging if Meloni were wearing clothes?
No. Plus, if he had clothes on, we couldn’t see those abs (a selling point for a fitness app)!
The nakedness alone is funny enough to keep our attention. But, the ad sprinkles in some more humor to turn the cheek up further in the cameraman and the dog scenes.
The cameraman “falls over” and Meloni innocently asks him if he wants some help.
Cheeky joke with a cheeky view. 🍑
The ad also uses onscreen text to make the dog scene silly (in a cute way).
People love pets so it’s hard to go wrong with cute pets in your marketing.
In the ad, a naked Meloni runs by a couple out with their pet dog. And the dog barks as he runs by. A normal reaction from a dog we don’t think much of.
The ad gives the dog subtitles though:
The Peloton app is both Meloni and dog approved. Is there a higher seal of approval?
I think not.
I bet the work to get this video over 600k views (on Twitter alone) is also dog approved.
The Strong Silent Type Behind Every Great Marketing Video
Hitting publish should not be the end of the road for your marketing video. It’s like a baby bird. You need to guide out of the nest so it can get traction.
Which means you need the real “G” that moves in silence like lasagna (yes, I did just drop that Lil Wayne lyric).
That “G” is strategy.
A Powerful Pivot In Marketing Message
Peloton’s known for its equipment. Equipment that now sits in the corner collecting dust because we want to go to the gym.
So, Peloton has been hustling to shift their marketing strategy and public image. Their new tagline “Motivation That Moves You” is their pivot toward promoting Peloton as a community.
In May, Peloton launched their “star instructor” campaign to build that community. And people loved it.
This was a clever move because communities are sustainable. They evolve. And they center around people.
People like their influencer-level instructors. Check out these follower counts:
But what is a community without its members?
Cue Detective Stabler (aka Chris Meloni). Peloton’s most interesting member.
A Brush with True Fame
Celebrities haven’t always helped Peloton’s cause. Mr. Big (Chris Noth) was a nightmare.
When Sex and the City killed off Mr. Big with an offscreen heart attack–caused by his Peloton bike workout–the Internet raged.
And Peloton’s sales took a hit.
Peloton released an ad with Noth alive and well to fix this. It worked until it didn’t. They pulled the ad after Noth was accused of sexual assault.
Sex crimes…sounds like a job for Detective Stabler. I want to believe this is why Peloton’s ad agency Maximum Effort chose Chris Meloni.
Or maybe it was a happy accident. Either way, they made the right choice.
They also used the perfect ingredients for a strong promotion strategy:
- Naked hunky famous celebrity
- Connection to a “holiday”. National Nude Day..it counts?
- Reference to the super popular Law & Order: SVU
And they posted this ad on Twitter and Instagram–where Peloton users and influencers are.
Look at the social media love:
On Instagram, the Peloton instructor/influencer community is strong. And they shared their love too.
With a strong message, great visual messaging, and a killer strategy, this ad is top notch.
It should be with a massive budget. I don’t know how much Peloton spent, but a company that size probably has a big budget.
Smaller businesses and solopreneurs usually don’t. But you can make great videos too.
The easiest thing you can do for your strategy is tie your product or service to a trend or a holiday. Events work too. Because this increases the chances people will see your ad.
You can link the content or the release date with trends, holidays or events.
Another thing you can do is leverage your community if you have one. This probably works best for creator type businesses, but you can try this in any industry.
And it doesn’t have to be cringey engagement-pod style! Tell your audience about your ad and invite them to check it out. Maybe they’ll share it with their followers or customers. It’s worth a try.
Add this to the great video marketing examples vault right up there with Dollar Shave Club’s video. The overall message, visual message and strategy behind this ad are well-executed.
- Start with a clear message
- Pattern interrupts can make great hooks
- Famous hot people sell 😂
- Your visual message can be the star of your video
- Don’t make your visuals an afterthought
- Dogs and naked celebrities make for good marketing (aka humor works)
- Marketing videos rarely go viral on accident. Behind every great video is a solid strategy
- Look for easy strategy wins like tying your video to cultural trends or holidays.
- Leverage your community if you have one.
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