Weight Watchers wants to help with the hard parts

Post-Christmas campaign from Wieden + Kennedy moves away from celebrities

Rebecca Harris November 28, 2014

Weight Watchers International is ditching the celebrity spokesperson for a more honest approach to weight loss.

The company, which recently worked with spokesperson Jessica Simpson, has launched a new campaign, “Help With The Hard Part.” The campaign, which is running in Canada and the U.S., aims to acknowledge that losing weight isn’t easy, simple or fun.

“It’s that honest conversation that losing weight is pretty challenging and that we’re here to help with the hard part,” said Stacey Mowbray, who joined Weight Watchers Canada as president earlier this month.

The first ad in the campaign illustrates people’s complex and emotional relationship with food. The 60-second spot, created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland, begins by showing people eating to celebrate, like a Little League team celebrating a victory.

It then shifts to scenarios where people eat because they’re sad, bored, tired or stressed, such as a woman in a car with screaming kids and a fully clothed woman sitting in an empty bathtub eating chips.

The ad is set to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It,” but the lyrics have been changed, opening with: “If you’re happy and you know it, eat a snack.” It continues, “If you’re sad and you know it, eat a snack… If you’re human, eat your feelings, eat a snack.” The only reference to Weight Watchers is made at the very end, when the logo appears following the tagline, “Help with the hard part.”

“We wanted to have a different tone and manner than the rest of the industry,” said Mowbray. “[And we wanted to] have a much more honest conversation that takes the stigma out of talking about dieting and sparks a conversation by saying ‘we get you. This is not easy.’”

In Canada, the 60-second spot and 30-second spot will launch on national television beginning Dec. 26. The ads will be adapted for the Quebec market. The campaign also includes PR, social and digital, including a new website and display ads.

Weight Watchers Canada is working with Weber Shandwick (PR), FCB in Montreal (adaptation), MediaCom (media buy) and Neo (digital).