Weight Watchers International, now 41 years old, had phenomenal momentum when it went public in 2001. That year, the chain reported a 127 percent jump in sales from 2000 to more than $620 million. A client rep said the chain’s growth sparked the search for a new shop. Weight Watchers leads the category with nearly $944 million in sales in 2003, according to Hoovers.com. While the company maintains a “near global monopoly in classroom weight-loss services,” according to UBS analyst Andrew McQuilling, its growth slowed to 16.5 percent last year. Sources said the client is feeling pressure from the low-carb craze and is concerned it’s being viewed as what one source described as “old hat.” In August, CEO Linda Huett blamed sluggish meeting attendance—the company’s main source of revenue—for a reduced earnings projection, from $1.80 per share to $1.75. The client’s most recent ads, by New York independent agency The Seiden Group, ran during the summer and portrayed women who got more out of the program than weight loss, such as self-esteem and quality family time.
Get Adweek's Brand Marketing Daily Newsletter in your Inbox
Today's highs and lows of creativity