Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
It's the ad that launched a thousand diatribes and a million page views of horror.
Surely no one has remained unaware of the Peloton ad in which a woman who stares stricken at the camera, apparently trapped in her marriage, attempts to show delight that her husband has bought her a Peloton. Something that'll help her lose perhaps two pounds from her slight frame.
The ad has been accused of arrant sexism and, well, just being one of the worst ads in the world.
Oddly, Peloton has stood by the ad, claiming its intent has been misunderstood. But when millions misunderstand the problem may, in fact, be yours.
It's not easy if you're an actor in such an ad. You might fear typecasting. Or just no casting ever again. Indeed, the male actor who plays the woman's clearly controlling husband took to the pages of Psychology Today to express his plight. He said:
As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me. I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither.
What, though, of the trapped woman? Or, rather the actress who plays her.
Well, she's made a quite brilliant decision, one that will surely propel her career to safe harbor. For, thanks to actor Ryan Reynolds, she's just appeared in a new ad for his Aviation Gin.
The ad makes subtle and perfectly pitched reference to her Peloton of trouble.
Here we find her with two girlfriends at a bar. They're commiserating with her in her anguish. She enjoys the same vacant stare we saw in the Peloton ad.
One friend tells her, so appositely:
You're safe here.
And so, thanks to the smoothness of the gin, they can all drink to new beginnings. Does that mean she divorced the dreadful husband? We're surely meant to think that.
Perhaps she gulps a little too much gin. But we -- and her friends -- try to understand. Her friend, though, makes another perfect observation:
You look great, by the way.
What a perfectly scripted, wonderfully acted triumph. What superbly quick thinking from the brand, the actor and, one imagines, her agent. And her publicist. And her manager.
When you confront potential disaster, it's easy to disappear into yourself and hide from the world. You don't want to talk to anyone and fear that if someone wants to talk to you, there's humiliation lurking.
You don't want to take another risk, in the hope that the controversy will die down and your face won't be permanently associated with disaster. (Though Peloton likely considers all the publicity something of a boon.)
Instead, here is an actor relying on her courage, her skills and her script.
This Aviation Gin ad is, from a professional point of view, so perfectly timed and so effortlessly executed that one can only stare in admiration.