A Lighter Approach

Weight Watchers Franchisees Get New Ads
DETROIT–Stone, August, Medrich & Co. is shifting the direction of longtime client Weight Watchers’ ads in a new campaign breaking today for franchisees in selected markets. The work is the agency’s first from new creative director Jim Gentry.
While past creative work has focused more on specific promotions, the new ads take a more humorous approach to garnering new customers for the weight-loss franchise, said Kelly Neill, executive vice president of the Troy, Mich., agency. They also go farther in establishing a brand identity for Weight Watchers weight-loss centers, he added.
One new ad features the headline, “Now losing a butt or thigh won’t cost an arm or leg.”
Print ads break this week in the Washington, D.C., area, Neill said. The TV portion of the campaign is scheduled to break in September in Washington as well as Maryland and Virginia. Stone, August, Medrich also handles Weight Watchers franchise groups in Texas, Oklahoma and California, which also are looking at the possibility of adopting the new creative approach, he said.
“We felt the new approach would be very arresting,” Neill said.
“It gives [the client] a completely different look.”
Neill attributed the shift in creative focus to Gentry, who joined the agency in early April from McCann-Erickson, also in Troy, where he had been a senior vice president and creative director. Since taking over as creative director–a post previously held by agency chairman Ron Stone–Gentry said he has made several key new hires to round out the creative team. They include Jenny Berry, from Mad Dogs & Englishmen in New York, and Justin Rankin, from Campbell-Ewald Advertising in Warren, Mich.