Weight Watchers sells a lifestyle

At the start of this month, Weight Watchers Magazine unveiled a redesign in an attempt to modernise its look, broaden the content and draw in more readers.

Relaunch: new photography and layout
Relaunch: new photography and layout

Although it has always covered lifestyle, beauty, fashion, travel and fitness as well as weight loss, it now offers even more opportunities for PROs to get coverage. Editor Mary Frances says: 'We're looking for PROs from all fields to contact us. We are particularly interested in products and experts.'

The redesign has overhauled the look of the magazine with new photography, fonts and layout, and refreshed the content. For example, the weight-loss success stories have been given more prominence.

PROs have welcomed the increased lifestyle content. 'The redesign gives the title a wider appeal,' says head of publicity at W Communications, Annabel Fox. 'It is more of a lifestyle magazine now and the variety of topics also moves it away from being purely a brand extension.'

Pure PR co-founder and director Kelly Marks says: 'It marks a definite shift from a title that was all about losing weight to a magazine that stands on its own as a more upmarket brand and fuses food with style and real life. In this essence, it's very much a general market magazine.'

However, the brand overhaul did not extend to the magazine's online presence.

Although it has a Facebook page, which is used as a tool to communicate with readers, it only has an information page on the main Weight Watchers' website. Frances argues this means there is no need for a dedicated website for the magazine. Fox agrees: 'Unless the website is a totally different offering to the magazine, there is no point just replicating the model online.'

But Marks says: 'I have no doubt that once the new look is established, an interactive website with daily tips and tricks would be a great tool. A Twitter presence would also help to extend the message and communicate with followers.'

Copies of the magazine can be bought at Weight Watchers meetings a week before they go on general sale on the newsstands. But, as Fox says, Weight Watchers Magazine is hoping the added lifestyle content will appeal to a wider audience on the newsstands.

To contact the magazine's staff, email is better than phone, the earlier the better. The team works three to four months in advance on features and two months ahead on news.

PROs can help make the pages feel more topical by telling the team about current issues as soon as possible.

Although the editorial team wants to be contacted by all kinds of PROs, there are two areas it rules out: other weight loss systems and cosmetic surgery.

'Apart from that, we love hearing from PROs editorially and for reader offers, promotions and money-off discounts,' says Frances.

Quick Facts
Price: £2.65
Frequency: Monthly
Publisher: River Publishing
Circulation: 203,566 (ABCs July-Dec 2010)
Editor: Mary Frances
Deputy editor: Jean Elgie
Features editor: Lucy Moore
Food editor: Anna Crane
Promotions manager: Angie Morris (amorris@therivergroup.co.uk)

A minute with ... Mary Frances, editor, Weight WatchersMary Frances

- Describe your readers

They are loyal and responsive in terms of editorial and to adverts and product mentions. They trust the brand and trust what we mention. The readership is from 18 to 80, but the average reader age is 44, and 88 per cent of our readers are female.

- Who are your competitors?

Slimming World, but as it only comes out six or seven times a year, it is not as current as us. We have a broader reach because it is strictly about weight loss. We feel we give readers a treat - our magazine is a lovely thing to look at.

Also Rosemary Conley and Zest.

- What advice do you have for PROs?

PROs are pretty good generally. The two areas where PROs underestimate our value for them is fashion and beauty. When people lose weight, not only do they want to buy clothes, they have to, because their old ones don't fit. Most often when people reach their goal weight, they go on a shopping spree with money they've saved for it. It's the same with beauty; they go through a whole transformation with new hair and new make-up. Brands like Wallis, Next, H&M and Debenhams should be approaching us directly for editorial coverage. Images are also always very useful.

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