Weight Watchers ends run with Ketchum

The company's active subscribers fell 15% in the fourth quarter of last year as it faces more competition from free apps and online services.

Image via Weight Watchers' Twitter account
Image via Weight Watchers' Twitter account

NEW YORK: Weight Watchers has ended its long-running relationship with Ketchum amid a tumultuous financial period for the health and wellness company.

"We currently are evaluating agencies to meet the changing needs of our business," said Stacie Sherer, VP of PR for Weight Watchers, in an emailed statement.

She added that Weight Watchers is "grateful for the excellent work and partnership" during its time with Ketchum.

The company did not disclose further information about the account change.

Weight Watchers’ stock hit a 52-week low last week. The company, which is $2.3 billion in debt, has also seen its stock drop 65% in the last year as it faces increased competition from a range of mobile fitness devices and apps.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, the company’s active subscribers fell 15%, year-over-year, while online subscribers declined 16.7%, and meeting subscribers dipped 13.3%. Analysts believe the company is struggling due to competition from wearable fitness devices and free apps. Meanwhile, Weight Watchers’ app is $19.95 per month.

Last week, Weight Watchers also dropped its creative agency, Wieden+Kennedy, according to numerous reports.

Barri Rafferty, senior partner and North America CEO at Ketchum, said the firm has enjoyed its partnership with Weight Watchers and is proud of its work, including TV integrations, coaching programs, and initiatives with singers Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson.

"Right now, the company is clearly going through a lot of transition, and we feel like we just need to support [their decision]," explained Rafferty. "For us, it has been one of those iconic brands we’ve worked with and we really wish them well."

Earlier this month, Ketchum also split from its work with the Russian Federation in the US amid tensions between the country and many Western governments over its role in the conflict in Ukraine. The Omnicom Group firm had worked with Russia since 2006.

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