Peloton retells ‘A Christmas Carol’ with a modern twist

The holiday campaign, created by Adam & Eve, stars comedian Brett Gelman as Scrooge.

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge finally changed his cruel behavior after a visit from three ghosts. But what if all he needed was a Peloton bike?

Peloton explored this idea in its holiday campaign, When Your Workout Is a Joy, It's a Joy to Work Out, created by Adam & Eve. Comedian Brett Gelman, known for his roles in Fleabag and Stranger Things, portrays a modern-day Scrooge who despises holiday cheer. 

In the campaign’s debut spot, Scrooge screams at a group of carolers, before slamming the door in their faces. But his mood completely changes after he receives a Peloton stationary bike as a gift. 

Scrooge rides his bike, does yoga, dances and gets “hella swole” with the help of Peloton’s instructors, who take him through the fitness brand’s immersive workout content. 

“Was Scrooge a new man? Oh, without doubt,” the narrator says. “When your workout’s a joy, it’s a joy to work out.”

The campaign, which is scored with Danny Elfman’s music from The Nightmare Before Christmas, includes ads across TV, OTT, paid social, audio and more. The spots will run in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Germany. 

Peloton’s goal was to promote its accessibility to everyone, regardless of their fitness level. 

“We want to show consumers both in the beginning of their journeys, and even the more advanced, that with a Peloton they're actually going to do it,” Bryant Brennan, SVP, global creative at Peloton, told Campaign US. “It's going to be fun, entertaining and something that they're going to come back to.”

Adam & Eve latched on to the idea of Peloton bringing joy to even the most grumpy of characters during the holiday season. The creative agency decided to bring the modern technology of Peloton together with the classic tale of A Christmas Carol.

“We've all seen that character a million times over,” said James Rowe, managing director at Adam & Eve. “It was really crucial to us that our version of Scrooge had the core characteristics of being a grumpy bear, but also would be able to convey that sense of joy in a believable way.”

Gelman was the perfect actor for the role because fans have a love-hate relationship with his past characters, Rowe added. 

When Your Workout Is a Joy, It's a Joy to Work Out is Peloton’s attempt at a positive holiday comeback.

In 2019, Peloton received widespread criticism for its holiday ad, The Gift That Gives Back, which featured a husband giving his slim wife a Peloton bike. The woman records her workouts in a vlog that she presents to her husband. 

"A year ago, I didn't realize how much this would change me," she said.

At the time, critics labeled the ad “sexist,” “out of touch” and even “dystopian.” But Peloton sales surged 172% when pandemic lockdowns boosted interest in at-home fitness.

Despite the challenge, Peloton learned from its 2019 holiday campaign snafu.

“When we consider where we are as a brand two years in the making, we've grown significantly from our level of brand awareness, the breadth of the offering and the size of our global community (5.9 million members),” explained Brennan. “This holiday season there couldn't be a more important time to deliver a campaign that could capture consumers' attention and showcase the brand in a new light.”

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