WOODBURY, NY: Weight Watchers International has taken on Ruder Finn (RF) to handle PR for its TurnAround program, a new approach to weight loss that incorporates the traditional Weight Watchers points program with a new method called the Core Plan.
The plan is the first new Weight Watchers program development in seven years.
RF will conduct "an aggressive awareness campaign" for TurnAround, working with Weight Watchers spokeswoman Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York, said Jennifer Stein, a VP at RF in New York.
Ferguson will undertake an eight-city tour for Weight Watchers beginning in mid-September, focusing on the new TurnAround plan, Stein said.
Stein is heading the agency's five-person account team along with Bob Seltzer, who joined the agency late last year to lead its new marketing practice.
Weight Watchers selected RF to handle PR for the new effort because of prior assignments the firm had done for it, Stein said.
Media relations efforts will target online, print, and broadcast media outlets, Stein said.
Messaging will stress that TurnAround, which debuted August 22, offers two alternatives for long-term weight loss.
The traditional Weight Watchers plan, now being called the Flex Plan, allows people to eat a wide range of foods as long as they keep track of points assigned to each item.
The Core plan uses a core list of foods that can be eaten without tracking points.
It is not a low-carb plan as some reports have noted, however, said Stein. It includes foods from all the major food groups.
Messaging will position it as a "way to modify lifestyles," said Stein. Weight Watchers tested the new plan with more than 10,000 people.
The low-carb craze has caused Weight Watchers and other traditional diet plans to fight back with new alternatives of their own for losing weight.