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Weight Watchers Unleashes Oprah Ad Blitz

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Weight Watchers is about to make its biggest Oprah Winfrey ad splash since the megastar made a multimillion investment in the company in October of last year.

In TV spots debuting on Dec. 26 (see one above and one below), Ms. Winfrey is shown doing backyard yoga, gardening and playing with her dogs while making an appeal to viewers to "take the leap" and join Weight Watchers so they can "get about the business of enjoying a fantastic and full life."

Ms. Winfrey has intermittently appeared in ads since taking a stake in the company. But the new campaign for the all-important winter season will represent her most sustained marketing effort to date. She will appear in at least three ads and the company is exploring airing up to a total of five spots, said Weight Watch Senior VP-Marketing Maurice Herrera. "This is more than what we had done last year (in 2016) as far as really having Oprah as a part of the campaign," he said.

The first two ads show her "revealing her own story," he said. In the ads Ms. Winfrey announces that since she started on Weight Watchers she has lost over 40 pounds. The campaign will then evolve to show her "connecting with other members and bringing their story to life," he said.

To make the ads, Weight Watchers worked with the creative production team at the Oprah Winfrey Network, known as OWN, which is joint venture between Harpo, Inc. and Discovery Communications.

As part of Ms. Winfrey's investment deal that was announced in October of 2015, Weight Watchers sold her roughly a tenth of the company for $43 million. She also took a seat on the company's board of directors and is currently helping out with the marketer's search for a new CEO, according to media reports.

Her investment came as the weight-loss program marketer was mired in a slump as it struggled to compete with free fitness apps and other new dieting technology. But of late, Weight Watchers has shown signs of a comeback. In the third quarter the company reported that by the end of the quarter subscribers were up 10.1% compared with the prior-year period, "primarily driven by continued recruitment growth in North America."

The new campaign, called "Live Fully," positions Weight Watchers as providing help for people so they can "live the life they want, full of the great foods, people and experiences they love, and the energy that comes with good health," according to a press release. It builds on the "Beyond the Scale" program the marketer unveiled a year ago. The revamp includes so-called SmartPoints that are based on calories, saturated fat, sugar and protein. Members can also earn "FitPoints" for activities such as walking, cleaning and gardening.