While American viewers are being subjected to Charles Barkley in Weight Watchers commercials, the French are getting something even weirder—an artful yet off-putting campaign from Fred & Farid featuring colorful, almost threatening close-ups of women's mouths.
The campaign is called "Treat Yourself Better," but it might as well be called "Dieting Dentata." The aggressive pop-art TV and print work all focuses relentlessly on glossy-lipped women biting into everything from lettuce and lollipops to chicken drumsticks and wriggly fish—an outpouring of defiance against the frustration of other diet plans in favor of one that apparently lets you eat pretty much anything you want. The visuals, steeped in oral fixation, are undeniably suggestive, and walk a weird line between empowering and degrading. The TV spot is dynamic enough to possibly be motivating for women, but the print work (scroll down) is borderline obscene, and so stylized as to seem completely removed from the emotional touch points that govern people's relationship with food.
The music, a new version of Brigitte Bardot's "Tu Veux ou Tu Veux Pas," reinforces the message of resistance, painting the difference between Weight Watchers and its rivals as night and day. Maybe the same can be said for what prompts French women to diet compared to Americans. All that said, it's masterfully art directed, and puts Fred & Farid squarely in the running for this summer's Cannes Grand Prix in Press—an honor that the Paris agency previously won for its Wrangler work. That is, unless the judges decide that this time they bit off more than they can chew.
Client: Weight Watchers France
Campaign: "Treat Yourself Better"
Agency: Fred & Farid, Paris
Creative Directors: Fred & Farid
Copywriter: Feng Huang
Art directors: Feng Huang, Pierre Jouffray
Advertiser supervisors: Corinne Pollier, Yannick Hnatkow, Karen Skalski
Agency supervisors: Isabelle Constant, Julie Badin
Agency producers: Emmanuelle Grenier, Teodora Berglund
Agency editor: Jason Freites
Agency post production: Katharina Nicol
Art buying: Carmela Guiragossian
Production company/Producer: Rene Hauser
Music: Green United Music