Weight Watchers gains new audience with latest efforts

With its two-tiered winter campaign, Weight Watchers has connected with a new demographic and current consumers.

Company: Weight Watchers
Campaign: "Believe" and "Lose like a Man"
Agency mix: Ketchum (PR); Razorfish (digital); McCann Erickson (advertising); Horizon (media buying)
In-house team: Cheryl Callan, SVP, marketing; Allie Abbate, senior PR manager; Lisa Craig, Stephanie Schulman, Kristi Widmar, PR managers
Budget: $750,000 to $1 million

With its two-tiered winter campaign, Weight Watchers has connected with a new demographic and current consumers.

"The goal is to drive enrollment from a fitness and a brand point of view," says Cheryl Callan, SVP of marketing. "We always look to contemporize the brand."

Both parts of the effort, "Believe" and "Lose like a Man," launched last December with celebrities driving the message.

The company has never tried engaging men until "Lose like a Man," which is being endorsed by ex-NBA star Charles Barkley.

Ketchum, the company's PR AOR since September 2011, focused on a "hardcore media strategy," getting Barkley interviews on mainstream outlets, says Lauren Mundell, SVP and account lead at Ketchum. Barkley also hosted Saturday Night Live on January 7 and talked about Weight Watchers.

"Charles is really making it OK for men to discuss weight loss," she adds.

Weight Watchers created an @LoseLikeAMan" Twitter handle, which had 21,000-plus followers within a month. Social media is primarily handled internally with strategy and content help from Ketchum and Razorfish.

For "Believe," Ketchum is working to connect with target consumers through news verticals, including entertainment, sports, business, and fashion.

Singer Jennifer Hudson, who lost 80 pounds on Weight Watchers, is the spokesperson. In January, when she released her book I Got This, Ketchum helped with the signing tour, which included stops at Weight Watchers centers across the US.

While the spokespeople are vital to the campaign, the main PR goal is to make news about Weight Watchers without the celebrities, explains Mundell.

In 2010, Weight Watchers earned 500 million media impressions. From November 2011 to January 2012, it had received 1.8 billion traditional and social media impressions.

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.

News by email...