Weight Watchers’ Tales of the Tape

NEW YORK A translucent sculpture of a woman glistens in the afternoon sunlight in a New York City park. Across from her on the other side of the walkway is another larger female form. Before long, puzzled passersby examine the figures and start touching and manipulating them, adjusting both to healthier measurements.
The unusual shape shifting is the centerpiece of an online video created by Weight Watchers as part of its latest advertising campaign from McCann Erickson, “Lose for good,” a message referring not only to long-lasting weight loss but also the diet chain’s initiative to raise awareness about global food scarcity. For every pound that Weight Watchers members lose from Sept. 7 to Oct. 18, the company will donate the equivalent of the cost of a pound of food, up to $1 million, to the nonprofits Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.
“Weight Watchers is not about a quick fix. It arms you with the things you need to keep weight off forever. ‘Stop dieting. Start living’ is the belief that everyone should live healthily,” said Joyce King Thomas, CCO, McCann, New York, which introduced the “Stop dieting. Start living” tagline in its first work for the brand late last year. “We thought it would be a natural piece of this new brand positioning, and the economic downturn makes the idea even more important and relevant.”
The street sculptures, made using clear packing tape, were created to increase the level of user participation in the campaign. “We wanted to do something a little more community based, where people can make something happen in the creative execution,” explained Thomas, who worked with group creative directors Sharon Ehrlich (copywriter) and Danny Rodriquez (art director) on the effort. “They created the change and both things are positive, right-sizing the too-big and the too-thin sculptures.”
As part of the campaign, which includes TV, print and online banner ads, the agency developed a MySpace and Facebook widget that allows Weight Watchers members to convert their individual weight loss into the number of meals provided to the hungry.
The brand has also enlisted vlogger Faint Starlite, a 24-year-old Milwaukee woman who has been blogging about her weight loss with the help of Weight Watchers for the last two years. Visitors to MySpace can join the conversation and grab the widget at myspace.com/weightwatchers. “She’s another member of our creative team,” said Thomas. “Whatever we are doing, she does something that relates to it in her own way.”