Weight Watchers Splits With Seiden Group

NEW YORK Weight Watchers International confirmed that it has parted with The Seiden Group, which has created its advertising since 1998.

“We need a larger, more integrated partner,” said Donna Fontana, vp of public relations at the Woodbury, N.Y., client. “What we’re looking to do is combine the responsibilities at one agency.”

New York independent Seiden had held creative duties while Interpublic Group’s Lowe handles media. Lowe intends to compete for the combined account, Fontana said, but she added that Seiden simply does not have the capability to handle creative, media planning and buying, direct-marketing, interactive and retail-promotion duties.

“They’re no longer an ideal fit,” said Fontana. “It’s totally an amicable split.”

Seiden’s last work for Weight Watchers, which broke during the summer, aimed for “a richer story” by profiling women who got more out of the program than weight loss, said Steve Feinberg, the agency’s chief creative officer. Three spots are currently in rotation, he said.

Consultancy Pile and Co. in Boston is sifting through data on an undisclosed number of New York agencies and looks to have a list of six semifinalists by mid-month, with a final decision coming in late November [Adweek, Sept. 6].

Weight Watchers spent $45 million on ads in 2003 and $25 million through the first half of this year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.