Spoiler alert: Mr. Big dies in “Sex and the City” reboot.
Peloton said he knew the company’s stationary bike would be used in the new program and approved of having one of his instructors appear on “And so on.” But I didn’t know that Mr. Big would drop dead after a 45 minute ride in the first episode.
Peloton insisted that he was not to blame for her disappearance.
“Mr. Big lived what many would call an extravagant lifestyle, including cocktails, cigars, and big steaks, and he was at serious risk,” said Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, a cardiologist for Peloton’s health and wellness advisory council, at a company statement.
Dr. Steinbaum, a self-described “Sex and the City” fan, said she was saddened by the death of Mr. Big.
The debacle may seem like an example of product placement gone wrong. But Peloton said he didn’t pay for the bike to appear on the show.
The branding is a big part of the first episode of “And Just Like That …,” which debuted on HBO Max on Thursday.
Carrie, the show’s main character and Mr. Big’s wife, pretends to be jealous of her obsession with Allegra, a fictional Peloton instructor played by a real one, Jess King.
Peloton said he approved of Ms. King’s appearance. Ms. King, who wears a tank top on the show with the Peloton logo stamped on it, did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Big tells Carrie that he would rather spend the night with Allegra than go to a piano recital. “Oh her again,” said Carrie, who is played by Sarah Jessica Parker.
As Carrie dresses for the recital, the Peloton bike peeks out at the entrance to her closet full of shoes. Mr. Big smokes a cigar as he leaves. He starts a 45-minute Squad class, gets off his bike, grabs his chest, and falls to the ground.
“And so … Big died,” says Carrie.
The character has a history of health problems, which Peloton noted in his statement. He underwent surgery to open a blocked artery in the sixth season of the original show. But his death was still a shock.
“Mr. Big deserved better than death for Peloton”, wrote a Twitter user.
The character, played by actor Chris Noth, appeared throughout the original series, which aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004. He also appeared in two “Sex and the City” films.
After the reboot was announced earlier this year, fans were more concerned about Samantha’s fate, after the show confirmed that actress Kim Cattrall would not be reprising her role. (Another spoiler: Samantha is alive but not seen.)
While Peloton coordinated with HBO the location of one of its bikes, HBO did not reveal the plot in advance due to “confidentiality reasons,” Peloton said.
HBO declined to comment.
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The Crock-Pot brand faced a similar dilemma in 2018, when an old slow cooker caused the death of a popular character on NBC’s “This is Us.” The brand responded to the episode, saying it was “heartbroken” over the death of Milo Ventimiglia’s character Jack, but insisted it had never received consumer complaints on the matter.
An executive at the communications firm Edelman later told Ad Age that he worked with Crock-Pot to release a public apology from the actor whose character had died and that sales actually increased in the wake of the situation.
Is not always that way. While product placement can be a boon for brands, it can be detrimental when representation is negative.
“The advantage of product placement is that it creates brand awareness and perhaps more positivity, but the disadvantage is often much greater,” said Alixandra Barasch, associate professor of marketing at the Leonard N. Stern School of Business. New York University. “Something like this is one of those, perhaps, rare cases where it can really backfire.”
While consumers are likely to know that exercise is generally not a dangerous activity in the rational sense, it could still cast a cloud of negativity over the company or over exercise machines in general, he said.
“It may not be very conscientious to them,” Ms. Barasch said, “but it could still affect their decisions on the sidelines when it comes to choosing a brand or choosing whether to buy exercise equipment at home to begin with.”
In May, Peloton agreed to recall its treadmills and its CEO apologized for the company’s initial refusal to comply with federal safety regulators. The Consumer Product Safety Commission told consumers with young children or pets in mid-April to stop using Tread + by Peloton, saying it was responsible for dozens of injuries and at least one death.
It is unclear how the Mr. Big incident will play out. HBO Max has released two episodes so far, the second of which revolves around Mr. Big’s funeral.
Peloton said there is good news: “Riding your Peloton bike may have even helped delay your cardiac event,” said Dr.. Steinbaum said.
—Sharon Terlep contributed to this article.
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