The blame for that sexist, disastrous Peloton ad lies squarely with the creative team that dreamed it up and the company executives that approved it. And yet it was the star of the ad who became “shocked and overwhelmed ” by her unexpected social media infamy it caused.
Cue Deadpool to the rescue. Actor Ryan Reynolds recruited the actress, Monica Ruiz, to shoot a new spot for Aviation Gin, the spirits company he owns. She agreed, and Reynolds and his team wisely capitalized on the viral moment and quickly produced a commercial that plays off her Peloton character’s deer-in-headlights energy.
Even the title of the ad, “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back” mocks the Peloton ad’s, “The Gift That Gives Back.” It opens with a close-up of Ruiz staring into space. We shortly see her two friends exchanging glances, clearly struggling with what to say to their friend as they sit at a bar decorated for the holidays, a reggae version of “Jingle Bells” playing in the background, with full martini glasses in front of them.
“This gin is really smooth,” Ruiz says, breaking the silence. Her friends seem relieved, agreeing with her and offering to order her another. “You’re safe here,” one says.
“To new beginnings,” the trio toasts, and Ruiz drains her drink before picking up another one.
“You look great by the way,” one of the friends says as the camera cuts to a shot of a bottle of gin. It’s the perfect, self-aware kicker to end the commercial and, hopefully, Ruiz’s time in the negative spotlight.
What makes it a great ad is its ambiguity. Is Ruiz playing the same character, the wide-eyed, repressed wife who becomes a slave to the cult of Peloton? Or is she playing herself, still dazed after a commercial she shot months ago suddenly went viral for all the wrong reasons?
It doesn’t really matter, in the end, because as opposed to her first go-round with viral fame, Ruiz (or her character) is in control, supported, and self-aware, no exercise bike necessary.