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Posts Tagged ‘Weight Watchers’

Weight Watchers Rebrands Spokesperson Jessica Simpson

Not pregnant.Here’s an interesting takeaway from FishbowlNY regular Diane Clehane‘s latest Lunch column: rather than dropping Jessica Simpson after she complicated her contract by getting pregnant again, Weight Watchers has used the opportunity to create a new role for her and a new campaign to go along with it.

Seems like they didn’t get the message about letting “less credible” celebrity spokespeople go.

Media VP Andy Amill gave Clehane some details on their lunch date. First he said “Jennifer [Hudson] has been ‘amazing’ for the company” and that she “helped bring in…record traffic to in the past year”, but we already knew that. Here’s the key development:

…now that she’s had her second child, she’ll be back, relaunched as Weight Watcher spokesperson. She will head up the company’s first-ever “Mom’s Initiative,” (that’s the not the official title, which is still being worked on, but you get the picture) targeting all those mummies who want to look yummy again. Clearly, Jessica’s struggles with post-pregnancy weight loss will resonate with plenty of mothers young and old as well as People and Us Weekly readers who have been following her every move forever.

Quite the savvy move turning a spokesperson’s unexpected pregnancy into a new marketing initiative. Of course, the fact that Simpson remains a fixture in the more respectable tabloids makes for an incredibly easy pitch. That’s a lot of earned media with very little effort.

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Weight Loss Brands Shedding ‘Less Credible’ Celebrity Spokespeople

Celebrity spokespeople have long been the bread and low-fat-butter-substitute of weight loss brands like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers. But this week the former announced its plans to move away from soap opera shills in favor of ads detailing the real-world products and services that its members actually pay for.

Donny Deutsch of Deutsch Inc. told Today that this change occurred because stars are simply “less credible” than friends and neighbors when it comes to weight loss. In fact, he says that celebrity spokespeople have grown less valuable to brands in all industries as our culture moves away from the era of the “household name” megastar.

Is that true? Here’s a spot illustrating Jenny Craig’s new approach:

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Weight Watchers Finds Its New Spokeswoman on Twitter

Here’s an interesting case study in crowdsourced social media branding: Weight Watchers, which faced some PR challenges when its spokeswoman Jessica Simpson got pregnant in the middle of her contract, found its newest celebrity backer via Twitter search!

The company’s social media team noticed that comedienne Ana Gasteyer had been tweeting about her weight loss experience and brought her feed to executives’ attention. They quickly moved in to secure her as a spokesperson — and now she’s created a series of TV and online ads set to debut this month. We can see why they’d be interested after reading tweets like these:

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10 Brands That Do Customer Service Right on Twitter

Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles”. This makes perfect sense, right? Customers value great service above all else, they love the instant gratification of social media and they really, really hate waiting for reps to pick up the phone. Also: by establishing separate Twitter handles for customer service, brands can “divert negative attention and activity” away from the primary feed.

So what goes into running a great customer service operation in the twittersphere? In order to find out, we poked around and found ten examples of brands that are doing it right, starting with some of the biggest.

1. Nike Support: This one is pretty much the gold standard. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how quickly and how often the feed’s managers respond to individual customers.

2. Xbox Support: Xbox boldly claims to hold the Guinness World Record for “most responsive Twitter feed”–and based on the number of replies their team posts every minute, we can see why they make that claim.

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Notable Quotes from 2012 Events

Savvy presenters at business events know the audience is there to hear candid comments, fresh insights, and surprising anecdotes–not humblebragging, self-promotion or overused buzzwords. If presenters don’t deliver, attendees will tune out and spend more time networking outside the conference hall. Not every speaker got that memo, however: it’s still a challenge to sift through all the jargon and make each event worthwhile.

We’ve highlighted seven memorable quotes from various New York-based events we covered in 2012. They deal with a range of topics: creativity, media relations, CEO visibility, producing original content, the risks of using celebrity spokespeople, teamwork, publicity and controversy.

1. “Grit is especially important when it comes to creativity. If it was easy, someone else would have done it.

-Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works and former contributor to The New Yorker and Wired magazines, delivered a keynote at ARF’s Re:think conference in March. In the ensuing months, Lehrer saw his own career falter after being accused of plagiarism and quote fabrication–so he didn’t follow his own advice.

2. “Now it’s a better age between journalists and PR. There’s an absence of friction, and PR is part of the data stream.

-David Carr, New York Times media reporter, spoke during Internet Week in May. Carr’s welcome though limited remarks on the dynamics of the relationship came in response to an audience question.

3. “A few companies with secure, confident CEOs take the lead on issues and speak out, but it’s hardly a universal practice.

-Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman PR, addressed Ethisphere’s Best Practices in Ethics Communication event in June. His comments have since been echoed by others in the industry.

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Should Weight Watchers Drop Jessica Simpson?

Weight Watchers Jessica SimpsonWe would love to claim ignorance on this story, but we recently became aware of the fact that one Jessica Simpson now finds herself pregnant for the second time…right in the middle of her big-bucks contract with Weight Watchers.

The problem: Her contract stipulated that she lose all of her “baby weight” in order to highlight the effectiveness of the Weight Watchers program—and she only had time to make one “look at me now” commercial before her second pregnancy put the brakes on all other promo opportunities.

We have less than zero interest in discussing Simpson’s personal life, but back in September we wondered whether Weight Watchers would regret hiring her despite all the tabloid attention. Our next question, from a marketing perspective: should the company just give up and find a new spokesperson? As we see it, they have only two other options:

  1. Claim that Simpson completed her program before getting pregnant (and accept the fact that she can no longer make Weight Watchers commercials)
  2. Wait nine months and do the whole thing all over again.

Neither of those are particularly appealing for the business. Weight Watchers’ PR manager commented on the story by saying:

“Any questions related to Jessica’s personal life can only be answered by her team. We do not disclose financial details about our relationships with any of our ambassadors.”

Translation: We’re pissed. So what’s the best way for brands to deal with celebrity sponsors who veer off script?

Could Jessica Simpson Hurt Weight Watchers?

Jessica Simpson seemed like a perfect spokeswoman for Weight Watchers. The always-curvy singer/actress/whatever was once a huge media star, but her recent public profile has amounted to a series of embarrassing stories about dramatic weight gain caused by a certain physical complication known as being pregnant.

Simpson provides a perfect example of the pleasure tabloid culture takes in eating its own, and a “comeback” would create a whole lot of press for the world’s biggest weight-loss brand. Jennifer Hudson was a runaway success, so why not Jessica?

Things aren’t going as well as the company had hoped, though—their spokeswoman made some public statements that don’t really do Weight Watchers any favors, saying that there’s been “a lot of pressure” for her to lose weight but that she’s “not hitting the gym for Weight Watchers.” Also: she “didn’t realize [the weight] didn’t all come off with the baby.”

But Weight Watchers is sticking with her. Their latest video has received quite a bit of attention for some reason:

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Weight Loss Bigwigs Back Bloomberg Soda Ban

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg (that’s “The Dictator” to his haters and “El Bloombito” to fans of his poorly spoken Spanish) seems to be losing his ongoing PR war with the American waistline. Today, however, the big dog gained some unexpected corporate support for his controversial “soda ban”, which will be subject to a vote by the city’s Board of Health next week. (We should note that the members of this board were appointed by the mayor himself.)

After declaring victory over the mighty forces of tobacco and trans-fatty acids, the mayor has dedicated his latest salvo in the obesity battle to manipulating consumer behaviors by limiting the size of sugary drinks served at restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and other common soda spots. His proposal makes sense in a way: Everyone agrees that Americans drink far too much soda, and reducing our dependence on sugary drinks may be the easiest way to lower our calorie count.

But the move also tickled New York’s famously independent (dare we say Libertarian) streak. It led to the creation of a group called New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, inspired Coca-Cola to run a PR counterattack and even convinced some opponents to drag their not-quite-obese bodies down to city hall for a good old protest. Will the words of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig soften their convictions? Probably not.

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Is Marketing for Men Moving in Another Direction?

Photo: Gillette

Charles Barkley is a new spokesperson for Weight Watchers. Football’s Terry Bradshaw is a new spokesperson for Nutrisystem.  New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees shows his paternal side in this ad for Vicks. And now, Gillette is getting tons of press for its new “brand ambassadors”: actor/musician André 3000, filmmaker and actor Gael García Bernal, and actor Adrien Brody. Brody was also in fancy imported beer Stella Artois’ first Super Bowl ad last year, a departure from the usual Budweiser fare.

The three are repping for the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler, a new shaving tool that grooms artsy-fartsy facial hair like goatees and, as Brody’s mom calls his facial design, “the Three Muskateer.” What caught our eye, besides that very sleek promo image of the three above, is how it veers away from Gillette’s usual spokespeople, which have included Tiger Woods and tennis star Roger Federer doing sports stuff.

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Charles Barkley’s A Little Trimmer with Weight Watchers, Still Blunt

Charlie B. did a whole of lot talking with an open mike last week, but what we heard was mostly par for course from the new Weight Watchers spokesperson.

Less than a month ago, we reported on Weight Watchers’ attempts to reach men with Barkley added as a new face for the brand. He’s on the website homepage with the line “Lose Like a Man” and gives a testimonial in a short clip where he praises the Weight Watchers system.

Last week during a basketball game that he was announcing, he had an off-the-cuff conversation with his announcer colleagues that he didn’t realize was being livestreamed on (clip above). In his comments, he says, “I thought this was the greatest scam going—getting paid for watching sports—this Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam.” Ack.

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