If you’re a Peloton addict, you might soon find yourself receiving subliminal messages to outfit yourself in neon-colored Adidas bike shorts.
Today, Peloton and Adidas announce a new partnership, where a select group of Peloton instructors will help design workout gear and wear these co-branded pieces on-screen. The brands will also collaborate on creating content that will stream on the Peloton app and in the Adidas Creators Club loyalty program. In addition to offering each brand exposure to the other brand’s audience, the partnership offers a glimpse into the future of both retail and fitness, as the world’s top activewear brands align themselves with fast-growing workout startups.
Over the past five years, Adidas has brought on three influential Peloton instructors—Robin Arzón (VP of fitness programming and the most popular instructor on the platform), Ally Love, and Cody Rigsby—as ambassadors, much the same way the brand pays other athletes and fitness influencers to rep its products. This announcement marks a more formal collaboration between the two companies.
Peloton is already selling branded workout apparel on its website, but now, there will also be Adidas x Peloton co-branded pieces. Arzón, Love, and Rigsby worked closely with Adidas designers to create the first 11-piece collection, which is a mix of performance gear, such as cycling shorts and sports bras, with lifestyle pieces, such as joggers and tank tops. These clothes will be available on both brands’ websites and at some Adidas stores and Peloton showrooms. They plan to release new collections every season.
The two brands will also collaborate on programming that will be available to both Peloton and Adidas members starting today. The two companies see an opportunity to grow their audiences. Adidas is a $23 billion company with global reach. Meanwhile, Peloton has 3.1 million members who use its app and 1.09 million who own one of its machines; the company hopes to double these figures in 2021. But beyond its sheer membership base, Peloton’s users tend to be very engaged—as Amanda Hess put it in The New York Times, they feel a “slavish devotion to a techno-religious sect.”
This isn’t the first time an activewear brand has joined forces with a connected-fitness startup. In late 2017, Alo acquired the yoga-streaming platform Cody; last June, Lululemon acquired at-home workout device Mirror. These mergers foreshadowed how the fitness industry is evolving.
At first blush, these partnerships seemed like a clever new way for activewear brands to advertise and sell products. But when I spoke to Calvin McDonald, Lululemon’s CEO, he said that buying Mirror was much more than a transaction: It was about growing and cultivating a following, particularly at a time when brick-and-mortar retail is waning. “Our stores have always been a place for guests to deepen their connection with us,” he told me last year, pointing out that stores often offered free yoga classes and running clubs. “We saw Mirror as an opportunity to do this digitally.”
This is also true for Adidas. “We’re putting our money—and our confidence—in the community that these connected-fitness brands can cultivate,” says Kate Ridley, SVP of brand at Adidas. “There’s a big difference between the community you can build at Peloton or Mirror—where you can do workouts with 50 of your friends from all around the world—versus going to a yoga class or spin class at a physical studio.”
In addition to this, Ridley says these kinds of partnerships help sportswear brands better understand today’s fitness consumer. “We’re all interested in the insights of the members working out at home,” she says. “We want to know what their lives are like and what the emerging trends are in fitness, so we can better serve them. That’s the ultimate goal.”
Going forward, Ridley says the two brands will continue to collaborate on apparel collections, but they also plan to expand their partnership. She hints that there’s a major celebrity who’s a spokesperson for both Adidas and Peloton. (It’s Beyoncé.) “There’s an amazing opportunity here to create exclusive content that utilizes this great talent,” she says.
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