While the premiere episode catches audiences up with now middle-aged characters Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte (Kristin Davis), it also threw a big wrench in the main character Carrie’s comfortable life.
Or rather, a Peloton did.
In the final minutes of the episode “Hello It’s Me,” audiences watch as Mr. Big/John James Preston (Chris Noth) huffs and puffs atop a Peloton exercise bike before collapsing and dying. Within the “SATC” canon, the fictional New York financier has dealt with heart problems in the past, but his heart attack in Thursday’s episode proved fatal.
Big’s death wasn’t only bad news for Carrie — and millions of shocked fans — but also for Peloton.
A spokesperson for the company told Buzzfeed News it approved the appearance of real-life workout instructor Jess King and was aware a bike was being featured in the episode but didn’t know how either would factor in.
“HBO procured the Peloton Bike on their own,” Peloton spokesperson Denise Kelly told Buzzfeed News. “Peloton was aware that a Bike would be used in the episode and that Jess King would be portraying a fictional Peloton instructor.”
Kelly further said Peloton wasn’t told “the larger context surrounding the scene,” due to confidentiality reasons. Buzzfeed reached out to HBO for comment on this claim.
By the end of Friday’s trading day, Peloton saw a 5.4% drop in stock price, and ended at $38.51 per share — rebounding from a 52-week low earlier in the day, according to CNBC.
The bike’s unflattering cameo also came just a day before the company received a ratings downgrade by a Credit Suisse analyst, who slashed its price target from $112 to $50 — more than half.
In discussion with The New York Times, intellectual property/entertainment attorney Nancy C. Prager explained that permission is typically needed to feature a logo or product on screen. She adds, however, that due to a trademark law known as “nominative fair use,” productions are also able to feature trademarks or products if they’re used in the way they’re intended to be as indicated by the company.
But she says the “And Just Like That” appearance might fall outside of these bounds.
“Nominative fair use does not apply, though, when you use the protected mark in a way that disparages the mark or the brand,” Prager told the Times. She elaborated that the appearance “tarnished Peloton’s goodwill to consumers.”
Prager pointed to the stock dip as evidence.
Peloton has not announced any sort of legal action against HBO.
Meanwhile, Carrie Bradshaw pulled together a stylish funeral for her husband in the series’ second episode. It appears the season will chronicle the reconstruction of Carrie’s life after a major crumble. While Mr. Big’s Peloton journey is done, for fans and for Carrie, the ride goes on.