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Jenny Craig Weighs Its Options

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Former Chiat/Day Chief's Consultancy Would Lead $30-40 Mil. Review

LOS ANGELES - Weight loss company Jenny Craig is considering a review for its estimated $30-40 million ad account, sources said last week, and former Chiat/Day executive Bob Wolf is a key figure in its strategy.
Wolf, the former chairman and chief executive of Chiat/Day in North America, announced last week the formation of a new advertiser-focused consultancy here , Bob Wolf Partners & Co. That consultancy would lead the search, said sources.
Executives at Jenny Craig and incumbent shop Suissa Miller Advertising in Los Angeles did not return phone calls. The contest would include both creative and media duties, said sources.
Suissa Miller won the creative portion of the Jenny Craig account in 1994 and has used a number of celebrities in its commercials, including actress Cindy Williams.
Western International Media in Los Angeles handles media buying for the La Jolla, Calif.-based client.
In recent years, Jenny Craig has faced increased competition, financial losses, Federal Trade Commission and stockholder lawsuits, the debacle surrounding the diet drug fen-phen and a mid-1990s restructuring. However, sales rose 9 percent last year to $365 million as the company emphasized a simpler weight loss program.
Jenny Craig spent $40 million on advertising in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting, and close to $6 million over the peak post-holiday weight loss period. Ad spending levels, however, have dropped in recent months, said sources.
Wolf declined to comment on a possible review by Jenny Craig, except to confirm that he has served on the company's board of directors for the past three years.
The new consultancy was formed through the merger of The Bob Wolf Co. and The Pearlman Group, both in Los Angeles. The group will handle agency reviews for the first time.
Wolf said agency searches are "a logical extension" for the company, which handles clients such as General Motors and American Express. The consultancy will not work for shops, he added.