Ryan Reynolds' Aviation Gin—which always has its finger on the pulse—has swooped in with the pop-culture coup of the month, if not the year, by launching an online spot that takes place, fittingly enough, in a bar. Ruiz plays herself—a hard-working Hollywood performer dazed by the turmoil of the past week. She knocks back a few Aviation martinis with friends, who offer support and encouragement.
To new beginnings, indeed! Not only does she "look great," but so does Aviation, for pulling off such canny marketing with lightning speed, and in a way that lets everyone in on the fun.
Of course, the Peloton ad generated an avalanche of put-downs and parodies for its perceived contextual sexism and weird vibe. By now, we all know the drill: Fit young wife receives a $2,000-plus stationary-bike from her husband as a holiday present, acts all nervous about riding the thing, creates a year-long supercut of herself peddling peddling peddling, and offers profuse thanks for what the gift meant to her.
Naturally, Aviation's "The Gift that Doesn't Give Back" scores super-bigly for casting the actual Peloton Wife, but that's not the only reason it rocks. Uncluttered, on-brand and deliciously droll, the spot wisely avoids convoluted social satire that could have seemed forced. It makes its point simply and effectively—unlike the original confusing ad, by the way—winking at viewers without ever seeming mean spirited. Heck, it doesn't even directly take Peloton to task. ("Exercise bike not included," as Reynolds says on Insta.)
So far, the spot's tallied more than 2.3 million views on Reynolds' Instagram, plus another 400,000 on YouTube, since dropping about 11 hours ago—and it's been adding thousands as each minute ticks by.
Well played, Ryan & Co. Here's looking at you, kids!
UPDATE: On Saturday, as the Aviation ad began to make headlines, Ruiz issued this statement:
"I was happy to accept a job opportunity earlier this year from Peloton and the team was lovely to work with. Although I'm an actress, I am not quite comfortable being in spotlight and I'm terrible on social media. So to say I was shocked and overwhelmed by the attention this week (especially the negative) is an understatement. When Ryan and his production team called about Aviation Gin, they helped me find some humor in the situation. I am grateful to both Peloton and now Aviation Gin for the work and giving me the opportunity to do what I love to do."
Separately, Sean Hunter, who plays her husband in the spot, told Good Morning America: "People turned down a pretty dark path and it turned into a nasty thing. Once something goes viral, and it turns viral, people jump on that negative bandwagon and start to create any dialogue they want."
Peloton—which saw its stock tank last week as criticism for the ad exploded on social (though it's impossible to establish the exact cause and effect)—said in a statement to CNBC: "Our holiday spot was created to celebrate that fitness and wellness journey. While we're disappointed in how some have misinterpreted this commercial, we are encouraged by—and grateful for—the outpouring of support we've received from those who understand what we were trying to communicate."