Daily Archives: December 6, 2012

Weight Watchers’ Big Fat Marketing Dilemma – Businessweek

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson isn’t getting fat. She’s just pregnant again. (Of course, she hasn’t yet confirmed the happy news, but her statement to People—”I’m not going to comment on this speculation”—is, in celebrity baby talk, the equivalent of posting a sonogram on her Facebook (FB) page.)

Either way, it’s a potential problem for Weight Watchers (WTW), which signed up Simpson as a spokeswoman less than a year ago. The endorsement deal, worth an estimated $3 million, wasn’t supposed to pay out in full until Simpson reached her weight goal. This fall, she was noticeably slimmer, rocking a pair of Daisy Dukes for the paparazzi in L.A.

Now the company has a quandary. No company can control when its spokespeople eat, work out, or procreate, a fact that creates special pitfalls for Weight Watchers and other companies selling the promise of weight loss. Kirstie Alley, star of Fat Actress, starred in commercials for Jenny Craig, only to regain the pounds she’d shed. Even Jared, who slimmed down at Subway, was snapped looking chubby several years after he rose to skinny fame. Weight Watchers declined to comment for this story.

If signing on famous people to lose weight is so unreliable, why do diet companies do it? It certainly would be easier (and cheaper) for Weight Watchers to find a more predictable spokesperson—say, a cartoon character they could slim down at will—or to abandon the spokesperson model entirely.

via Weight Watchers’ Big Fat Marketing Dilemma – Businessweek.


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