For some brands, prominent product placement on a buzzy TV show like HBO Max’s And Just Like That… would boost sales and stock prices. However, Peloton Interactive, Inc. wasn't so lucky.
Spoilers for the series premiere of And Just Like That… ahead!
In the premiere of And Just Like That…, a continuation of HBO’s Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) attended a music recital, leaving husband Mr. Big (Chris Noth) to his own devices for a night. Big uses the time for a Peloton workout with his favorite instructor, Allegra, played by real-life Peloton instructor Jess King.
After the workout, however, Big suffers a fatal heart attack, dying just as Carrie returns home.
The plot twist seemed to send Peloton stock tumbling.
Peloton stock dropped more than 11 percent the day of the "And Just Like That…" premiere.
And Just Like That premiered on HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s streaming platform, on Dec. 9. As viewers witnessed Big’s demise, Peloton stock started to fall. By the end of the day, the stock was down more than 11 percent, according to CNBC.
“I don’t know if series creator Michael Patrick King has a particular grudge against the fitness company—maybe he’s just a SoulCycle guy?—but rarely in the history of pop culture has an enviable product placement ever gone quite so wrong,” wrote Los Angeles Times entertainment reporter Meredith Blake.
Peloton put the blame on Mr. Big’s “lifestyle choices” and not its exercise bike.
The Peloton stock downturn on Dec. 9 and Dec. 10 could be a coincidence, but the company is already on the defensive. In a statement to the Times, Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventative cardiologist on Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council (and an admitted Sex and the City fan), insisted that Big’s Peloton bike didn’t cause his death and in fact might have delayed it.
“Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle—including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks—and was at serious risk as he had a previous cardiac event in Season 6,” she observed. “These lifestyle choices and perhaps even his family history, which often is a significant factor, were the likely cause of his death. Riding his Peloton Bike may have even helped delay his cardiac event.”
Steinbaum also said, “More than 80 percent of all cardiac-related deaths are preventable through lifestyle, diet, and exercise modifications. And while 25% of heart attacks each year are in patients who already had one (like Mr. Big), even then they are very, very treatable. The lesson here is, know your numbers! It’s always important to talk to your doctor, get tested, and have a healthy prevention strategy. The good news is, Peloton helps you track heart rate while you ride, so you can do it safely.”