Lockdown helped turn Peloton into one of the hottest leisure brands in the world, with the company being valued at $50 billion at the peak of its popularity. However, with orders slowing as the world starts to recover from COVID, and the business having some serious brand image issues, Peloton has seen its share price crash, with the company now only being valued at $8 billion.
Brand Image and Defensive Registration Gaps
This week the brands image problems were compounded after popular TV series Billions saw a central character suffer a heart attack whilst using their Peloton bike. Whilst the character went on to survive the incident, this isn’t the first time a TV heart attack using Peloton equipment has occurred. In the Sex and the City reboot, ‘And just like that’ another fictional character suffered a heart attack whilst using a Peloton machine, ending up with the character passing away.
These unfavorable TV references are adding to the significant problems already facing the organization, but it seems that whilst the brand is taking damage, they have done very little to protect themselves in this area online.
They have been targeted on the domain name front with registrations such as wwwonepeloton.com, onepelotonlife.com, onepelotonwarranty.com and onepelotonsucks.com. Onepeloton.com is their main domain name yet a third party has registered onepeloton.fit. Surprisingly, onepeloton.bike is available for registration. The .bike extension relates to their most popular product yet it is currently not secured. Is this an oversight?
We would strongly recommend that Peloton put the pedal to the metal and conduct a domain name audit and thereafter develop a strategy to address infringements and close blatant gaps within their domain portfolio.
Is Peloton a Generic Mark?
Another consideration that may affect Peloton’s ability to protect its brand is its generic nature. The more distinctive a mark, the easier it is to protect and enforce, such as Microsoft, Google, and Zoopla. Alternatively, brand names that contain words that are not typically associated with the product or service they are attached to ( e.g. Apple and technology) are easier to protect and enforce. This is a problem for Peloton, as the word existed well before the brand and is defined in the English dictionary as “the main field or group of cyclists in a race”, demonstrating how the word is synonymous with the industry it now operates in. This makes the argument for it being a generic term stronger, meaning the brand could have further brand image issues in the future as infringements could be difficult to address, which could potentially encourage its brand to be targeted.
In some cases, referencing Peloton can be more subtle, as can be seen in the Netflix series Emily in Paris, in which American clients, Pelotech (clearly a play on Peloton) who sell luxury stationary bikes, are looking for support in launching their product in France. Once again, the product is portrayed in a less than favorable way and potentially tarnishing Peloton without directly naming it.
Peloton or Pinterest?
Another issue facing Peloton and their ability to protect their brand, is the similarity of their logo to Pinterest's. Both brands use a similar looking ‘P’ and very similar red and black colour to present the icon.
In the world of intellectual property, a strong logo is one that is unmistakably unique to its creator, but in this instance, although differences can be seen between the two logos, it is a stretch to say that Pelotons logo is unmistakably unique.
As things stand, Peloton is well behind the leading pack when it comes to its brand protection capabilities. A lot of work needs to be done, with them needing to get back in the saddle and gear up to address some of the issues they face, which should start off with a clearly defined defensive and enforcement strategy.