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Category : Thinking

Inspiring Action Brand of the Month: Peloton

John Foley, the CEO and founder of Peloton, joins Rebecca Jarvis of ABC for an interview on May 5, 2016.

Calmly and confidently, he says the following.

“I think that the Peloton brand will be bigger and more influential than Apple in 10 years.”

Now, maybe you’ve heard of Peloton, the all-in-one stationary bike and at-home cycling class platform, and maybe you haven’t. Either way, you’re probably wondering how, or why, the founder of a stationary bike start-up, then just four years old, could make such an ambitious claim.

(Photo from Crain’s New York Business)

The company has already proved Foley’s inspiring idea to be true: that people would pay to re-create the cycling class experience at home – but to have more influence than the most influential brand of the past decade? That is a different beast entirely.

I’m not here to say that his prediction will be true, but what I can say is that the Peloton riders, all 600,000 of them, likely believe it to be.

On the surface, it’s easy to think of Peloton as, well … a stationary bike company.

And from there, one might assume that they compete with other cycling and fitness-based brands SoulCycle, Flywheel and Barry’s Bootcamp.

But ask Foley and he will adamantly tell you that Peloton is not a stationary bike company and instead considers his competitors to be Tesla, Amazon and Apple.

To understand this line of thinking, you must first understand Foley’s philosophies. There’s no goal too grand, and no vision too wide. Later in that very interview, he goes on to say:

“You hear that goals should be achievable. I don’t think that goals should be achievable because you don’t want to set yourself up for failure. I think that if you hit every goal that you set out for yourself, you will never know how far you could have gone.”

In the two years since saying that, he has taken the company very far. For the second year in a row, Peloton tops the list of New York City’s fastest-growing companies, as subscribers tripled this past year alone.

Today more than ever, consumers are going to market to become more of who they aspire to be. They are constantly searching for brands that will help them change their behaviors for the better. They have a natural desire to change and improve. Peloton does just that, innovating an outdated category with a fusion of revolutionary software and masterfully designed hardware, they have inspired audiences in ways that benefit their well-being tremendously. Riding Peloton becomes a part of your weekly routine. It’s a lifestyle.

So, if Peloton isn’t a stationary bike company, then what is it?

It’s a great question, and one that Foley gets often. Peloton transcends so many categories, and because of that, it stands in a category of its own.

Yes, the company became popular for selling its own state-of-the-art bikes, but Peloton is far from a hardware company.

That bike comes equipped with a 22-inch tablet computer, one that Foley claims, in addition to being three times the size, is even better than Apple’s. If you don’t want to purchase the bike, you can still enjoy Peloton’s classes through a monthly subscription via its award-winning app, and although they recruit software engineers from the likes of Google, technology is only a part, albeit a very large one, of what they do and offer.

On that tablet, Peloton streams cycling classes led by professional instructors to its legion of subscribers live from its television production studio in New York City. It’s an aspect of their business that has people labeling them the Netflix of fitness, turning instructors into celebrities with hundreds of thousands of social media followers and giving its riders over 8,000 on-demand classes to choose from – uniquely positioning Peloton as a media- and content-production company that’s attracting executives from Netflix and HBO.

And with 31 showrooms nationwide, a number that’s expected to grow to 50 by the end of 2018, Peloton is also an e-commerce and retail company. When purchasing the bike, whether online through their website or through one of their showrooms, you can pay an additional $250 for the bike to be delivered in one of their Peloton-branded Mercedes Sprinter vans by Peloton employees, who then install the bikes into your home, which also makes Peloton a logistics company.

It’s not the most economical way to deliver the bikes, but it’s an important differentiator for Peloton, as it gives them 100 percent control of the consumer experience end to end. Uncompromising in their direct-to-consumer approach, the deliveries are made by brand enthusiasts who are equipped to deliver a high-touch, on-brand experience. They can answer any questions the consumer may have, give the brand a voice and build relationships. Most importantly, they know how to get them set up and riding in no time.

So, if you’re following along, that makes Peloton a part hardware, part technology, part media, part logistics, part e-commerce and part retail company, all while not truly being any one of those.

In Foley’s words, his brand is a “disruptive technology company at the nexus of fitness, tech and media.

If anyone knows disruption, it’s Foley, and he hasn’t always been on the right side of it.

As the former president of e-commerce at Barnes & Noble, Foley had a front-row seat when the company and its NOOK were subject to disruption by Amazon and their Kindle Fire.

Speaking to a large audience at CES in Las Vegas last year, he reflected on the experience.

“At Amazon, they make the Kindle Fire, and they make it for $250 and they sell it for $150. That disrupted all the Dells and HPs and IBMs and Acers who also tried to make tablets, but they were hardware business models. When you make a tablet, and you make it for $250 but sell it for $500 because your business is making money on hardware, you can’t compete with Amazon, who makes their money on the digital content after the fact.”

For Peloton, it’s not about the hardware, as the company primarily has a subscription digital content business model.

That’s not to say the bike isn’t the best bike in the world, because it is, but what truly differentiates Peloton from anything else is the content, community motivation and software it provides its consumers.

The bikes are suited with an electronic dial that displays your exact resistance from 0 to 100. It shows your cadence (pedaling speed), calories burned, distance ridden and total power output (a combination of your speed and resistance). The tablet constantly compares your current ride to your personal record, minute by minute, pushing you each time to reach new milestones. The tablet also shows you where you rank among others who have taken the same exact class, giving you incentives to climb the leaderboard.

If you take a live class, the instructor will often shout out your achievements, like breaking a personal record or riding your 100th ride. This make the Peloton experience immersive, entertaining and interactive. You become a true virtual member of the class, giving you the magic of being in the room all from the comfort of your home. You can even video chat with other riders and friends while the class is in session.

With over 8,000 classes to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Rides vary in length, difficulty, music genre and by instructor. Some combine riding with an upper-body workout, and Peloton has even added yoga, ab workouts and stretching classes to their library as well. Skip a trip to the gym and enjoy the rush of your favorite classes at the tap of a screen, on your terms.

Everything at Peloton has been designed with intention. That intention is a bit of a tongue twister.

Peloton wants to make you want to want to work out more.

And they’ve succeeded. Through a synthesis of social marketing, word-of-mouth advertising, persuasion design, behavioral science and design thinking, Peloton has mastered the art of behavior change marketing. Proving that emotion leads to motion, they’ve inspired their audience, increasing their commitment to improving their health. Sprinkling in behavior change ingredients into every brand touchpoint, they have created a cult-like following that has become the envy of brands everywhere.

Ninety-six percent of riders would buy the bike again if they could go back in time. On average, riders ride eight times a month, or twice per week.

But more impressive than that is their Net Promoter Score, an index that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products or services to others. Peloton has an NPS of 91, which, per Foley, is the second-best NPS in the world and far ahead of Amazon, Apple and Netflix. Foley has stated that his goal is to make Peloton the first company ever with an NPS of 100.

This brand loyalty makes word of mouth a powerful acquisition tool, as over a quarter of Peloton’s customers first learned about Peloton through a friend or a family member.

So what’s next for Peloton?

Earlier this year, they announced their entrance into the treadmill market with the Peloton Tread, a $3,995 Internet-connected treadmill with a 32-inch HD screen, so that if you step off the treadmill to participate in any of the guided core exercises, you still have a fully immersive view. The Peloton Tread will be available this fall.

The treadmill market is five times bigger than the stationary bike market.

Peloton is already working on a third product, and it won’t be their last.

“We want to build the biggest consumer-products brand in the world. We’re going to make Apple look small-time,” Foley tells Bloomberg.

As for taking the company public, Foley has stated that he eventually will, but not for financial reasons. Instead, he looks at an IPO as a marketing event – a way to generate awareness and get the word out about Peloton to the masses, helping as many people as possible improve their health and fitness.

That’s why Peloton is our inspiring action brand of the month!

The Best Intentions Deserve The Best Creativity

Steve Jobs once asked John Sculley, then the CEO of Pepsi,

“Would you rather spend your life selling sugar water, or do you want to change the world?”

Old Advertising has answered with a resounding,

“I’ll have the sugar water!”

Great talent will line up to sell sugar water. Award show judges will reward them for it. Industry press will laud them for it.

The best intentions deserve the best creativity.

But, that’s not the way things work, in this system or any system we know.

In this system, if Pepsi has the most money, Pepsi can get a great effort from any number of great agencies.

Sugar water puts their kids through college and pays for their beach houses.

The best intentions will only get the best creativity if enough of us choose to make that so.

If you choose helping people change their lives over manipulating them.

A whole economy is being built on helping people change the behaviors they want to change in the way they want to change them.

But the old advertising industry is only seeing a small part of that business, because they are focused on where the big money still is.

And, because they’re focused on the easy.

It’s easy to be lighthearted and engaging about bubbly sugar water.

It’s harder to bring that same touch to things that matter.

The A-List Podcast: Episode 019 with Paul Caiozzo

After a short hiatus, host and DiMassimo Goldstein CCO Tom Christmann returns to the booth for another exciting (and hilarious) episode of The A-List Podcast! This time, he’s joined by Paul Caiozzo, an award-winning creative and the cofounder of Office of Baby, a youngish creative independent agency that’s mature enough to work for companies like Google, Etsy, Zocdoc, and StreetEasy. Before starting his own agency, Paul served as the executive creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

In this inspiring interview, Paul shares the unique story behind how he got into advertising, how negativity is poison, the challenges and balancing act of starting a new business, why creativity is still the core of advertising, and where he sees the future of the industry. Full episode and show notes below!

Show Notes

  • [0:00 – 1:36] Intro
  • [1:37 – 4:59] The meaning behind the name “Office of Baby”
  • [5:00 – 8:08] Looking back on his time freelancing, Paul shares the lessons he learned from being around a variety of different agencies
  • [8:09 – 15:20] The power of remaining positive, even in the face of uncomfortable situations
  • [15:21 – 18:03] How a young web designer from Long Island found himself at a start up in Silicon Valley.
  • [18:04 – 20:25] Paul shares the inspiring story of how a favor for a friend turned into a lifelong passion for advertising
  • [20:26 – 24:20] Packing up his life in San Francisco and leaving to go an advertising school in Atlanta, where he discovered how ideas can be applied to art
  • [24:21 – 28:27] The mentor who convinced Paul to stay in the industry after a rocky start
  • [28:28 – 31:29] What he’s learned from starting a business and how to deal with the challenges that come with it
  • [31:30 – 35:08] Paul shares some of his favorite philosophies he learned working under advertising legend Alex Bogusky at Crispin Porter + Bogusky
  • [35:09 – 38:33] Paul reflects on his time as the executive creative director of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, building a satellite office and selling a vision
  • [38:34 – 40:34] Tom and Paul chat about “global agencies” and how the fragmentation of people solving a problem can be a problem of its own
  • [40:35 – 49:06] The current landscape of advertising, and how even in a sea of data and numbers, creativity still reigns supreme
  • [49:07 – 1:01:29] The future of Office of Baby, the company’s vision, why you should never chase money, and how being kind to others will ultimately reward you
  • [1:01:30 – 1:02:22] Outro

 “The A-List” is a podcast produced by DiMassimo Goldstein, recorded at the Gramercy Post, and sponsored by the Adhouse Advertising School, New York’s newest, smallest, and hippest ad school. You can subscribe and rate the show on iTunes or listen along on SoundCloud. For updates on upcoming episodes and guests, be sure to like the A-List Podcast on Facebook and follow host Tom Christmann on Twitter

Super Bowl: DiGo’s Favorite Spots

Every year, the ad industry gets ready for the Super Bowl by watching the ads that drop early and speculating on the brands that will win and lose.

This year, we asked a few of our team members to share their favorite spots with us. Take a look to see who rose to the top!

The Founder CEO, A Marketer’s Orientation.

I love working for and with Founder/CEOs.

No doubt, this makes me an eccentric marketer and an odder ad guy, and casts extreme suspicion on my membership in the creative community.

Marketers are supposed to want to run their own empires – otherwise why spend all that money on a Harvard MBA and all that energy climbing the corporate ladder? Creative directors think the ideal client listens to their presentations, and then applauds. Ad agencies think their job is to please the target audience no matter what the client might think.

I’ve always hated that stuff.

You don’t let your target audience tell you what to be any more than you let your friends tell you who to be. There’s no integrity, surprise or life in that at all. Yet, in many places, it’s the norm.

And you don’t go to a dynamic, growing company – or a turnaround – to run a department like a fiefdom. You go there to be a key member of the CEO’s leadership team. You need that CEO to help you succeed even more than the CEO needs you.

I’ve always sought out clients with vision. Not rude or insulting, but laser focused, blunt, and as domineering about the brand as possible. Sometimes they are articulate. Sometimes they just know it when they see it. Either way, as long as there is really an “it” that will ultimately differentiate the brand in a world of bland, I’m in.

There will be twists and turns. I’ll hang in. I’m in it for the ride and because I believe in the destination.

As a marketing director or CMO, you are going to get the ride of your life working for a Founder CEO, and the twists and turns are no small part of it.

That inertia you feel is the marketing strategy hugging the road of a changing growth strategy. That’s a feeling you’ll rarely get in a big, lazy company.

But if you care about getting to the destination, you’ve got to care about making all the right turns along the way.

It’s exhilarating. But it’s not for everyone. If you can deliver on the business results, if you can be resilient through the twists and turns, and if you can bring on partners who share your passion and resilience, you will become irreplaceable to your visionary leader.

You’ll play your best game along side stunning colleagues. These will be the days and years you’ll never forget.

If you want to make a mark in the world, this is the way. And I’ll see you at the weekly meeting with the Founder/CEO.

Behavior Change Marketers of The Year: 2017

The year 2017 was the year of behavior change marketing. Here is our list of marketers who changed our behaviors for good, for bad, and maybe forever. If there are any brands you think deserve to be added to the list, tweet us here and let us know!


For changing the way we read, shop and watch…


From almost never going to a mattress store to never going to a mattress store – all in one brilliant brand experience. 


For merging innovative technology with behavioral design to reinvent the way we learn languages.

Per unire tecnologia innovativa e design comportamentale per reinventare il modo in cui apprendiamo le lingue.

Para fusionar tecnología innovadora con diseño de comportamiento para reinventar la forma en que aprendemos idiomas.

Kakushintekina gijutsu to kōdō dezain o yūgō shite, gengo o manabu hōhō o kaikaku suru tame.

Google Translate

For making it easy for people who don’t even have time for Duolingo to do what we just did above.


For making travelers feel more at home, regardless of where they are.


For taking the genome revolution to the people, allowing us to access our own DNA, find our DNA relatives, and empower us to lead healthier lives.

Nobel Prize Committee

For bringing the beneficent insights of behavioral economics into the international spotlight.


For closing the gender-investment gap by giving women the tools, place and voice to invest for themselves.


For making the most personal of clothing decisions – what socks to buy – the most pro-social, by giving a pair of socks to a homeless person for every pair we buy.

Cards Against Humanity

For showing that a silly, politically incorrect game can take a serious political stance, and win big.


For building a platform that makes humans helping humans more possible than ever.


For showing that your guru can be an app. And, for introducing the life-changing effects of meditation to millions, ten minutes at a time.


First, for changing the way tens of millions of us get from here to there. Then, for exploiting their monopoly in greedy and insensitive ways and driving millions of us to Lyft and other options.


From the Russian election hack to the #MeToo movement, Facebook has had an outsized effect on all aspects of our society, changing our behavior in good, bad… and still unclear ways.


For allegedly over-delivering hydrocodone, and perpetuating the opioid epidemic, which currently ends 144 American lives each day.

HelloFresh / SunBasket

For turning the average joe into an iron chef, all without going to the grocery store.


For simplifying and streamlining the dating process with one swipe of a finger.


For forever ending the headache of splitting a bill and making the act of going to an ATM a behavior of the past.

Resy / OpenTable

For removing human interaction from the reservation-making process.


For changing the way we manage our email inbox.


For using complex algorithms to change the way we discover music.


For changing the way television shows are produced and consumed.


For making managing your wealth as easy as scrolling through your phone.


For making online shopping more personal.


For showing us that there is no such thing as spare change.


For making listening the new reading.


For turning our heroes into our teachers.

We’ve loved watching these brands change our behaviors, and change the world. We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store!

Brand Resolutions That Work.

Every brand needs a New Year’s resolution.

Yes, even yours.

We’re not talking about increasing sales. Or retention rates. Or profitability.

Because those are goals, not resolutions.

A goal is a hope. Like losing weight, or getting a promotion.

A resolution is a plan. Like deciding to pack healthier lunches every day, or to walk to work instead of taking the subway.

You see, resolutions are all about behaviors.

Dislodging the behaviors you don’t like, and replacing them with new ones that empower you.

Resolutions are the behavior change plans that help you achieve goals.

But behavior change is hard.

Hard, but not impossible.

Behavioral science research has provided us with insights on how individuals and organizations can effectively change behaviors to better drive business results.

Like the practice of moral reframing, which we wrote about last month.

Or rewarding outrageous failure, which you can learn more about in this video.

Or behavioral design, which Inspiring Action brand Duolingo has mastered.

There is so much behavioral science can teach us to better understand what drives consumers.

And it’s our resolution to bring all of that to you in the upcoming year.

Through emails, just like this one.

And now, it’s your turn.

What is your brand’s New Year’s Resolution?

What Behavior Change plan will you launch?

And what goals will that achieve?

Shoot us a tweet, and use the hashtag #BrandResolution.

We’d love to hear it.

The Behavior Change Manifesto

Inspiring Action.

People pay us to get people to do things.
And we’re really good at it.

It’s an awesome responsibility.
Changing people’s behavior.
Their decisions and habits.

That’s why we’re not a “performance marketing” agency. Or a “digital” agency. Or a “direct” agency.

That’s why we’re an Inspiring Action agency.

That’s why we only incite more inspiring actions.
And more empowering habits.
And why we use our powers to ignite growth only in organizations that promote those kinds of behaviors.

But responsibility isn’t the only reason.
People bet their careers on our results every day.
We have learned by long experience that inspiring action simply works better.
We learned by being in big, siloed agencies that undermined our results by separating us.
We learned by proving it through results.

That the two most important factors for igniting growth are Inspiration and Action.
Inspiration – is there an idea or experience at the core of the brand that inspires unreasonable passion.
Action – is there urgency and ease and flow and momentum in the funnel of actions that create even deeper engagement and customer value.

Inspiring Action ignites growth by changing behaviors. Each one of us made an inspiring decision to come together.
To use what we’ve learned to inspire action for worthy organizations.