WW is adding two celebrity brand ambassadors, actress Kate Hudson and singer Robbie Williams, in a bid to broaden its reach as a wellness brand and shed its old Weight Watchers image.
Oprah Winfrey, who's an investor and board member, continues to star in marketing, too. "She is such a critical lynchpin for the brand," says Chief Brand Officer Gail Tifford. But WW says it also needs to tell stories people are more likely to relate to, so it will also highlight a few non-star members. It's WW's biggest push since changing its name and hiring Anomaly as its global brand strategy and creative agency. The company declined to specify spending.
WW will lean heavily on video, with almost 60 new pieces of content, from six-second bumpers to a 60-second brand anthem. Out-of-home plans include splashing ads across Times Square one day in early January.
Spots featuring Hudson will run in the U.S. while those featuring Williams, who's from the U.K., are slated for markets such as Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. (Winfrey's will run globally.)
Health and wellness is my number one and I always say that what works for me doesn't work for everyone. I believe that we need to celebrate diversity in how each individual wants to celebrate their bodies. We aren't all going to enjoy the same work outs, outdoor activities, foods etc. I've become an Ambassador for the WW family because it is the perfect community for people to live healthy their own way and I love sharing this knowledge with you all! This is not a community for people who just want to lose weight, although leading a healthy lifestyle lends itself to such, this is a community about supporting each other through a life long journey of wellness. I'm so happy to share this with everyone and I have to say, having @oprah on my call list was a dream come true! Love you O 😘 #WwAmbassador #ad #WellnessThatWorks @ww
Hudson (above) and Williams (below) announced their plans to their fans on social media.
Guys, as I told you last week, I have announced some health goals for the new year. I want to get fit and healthy, to be my best version of me for my family, my friends and my fans. And that's why I've decided that WW is going to be my partner on this wellness journey. As a #WWambassador, I'm joining the community of millions around the world who are building healthy habits for real life with WW. Come along and share the reasons why YOU are getting healthy with #MyWhy. Because healthy living can be #ForEveryBody @ww.uk #ad
WW has had 11 consecutive quarters of member growth. At the close of the third quarter, it tallied 4.2 million subscribers but expects to end 2018 with about 4 million subscribers, since it's a seasonal business and plenty of the people who start the year off with weight loss goals see their desire wane as the months progress. Even so, the 4 million number is well above the close of last year, when it counted 3.2 million subscribers.
In January, which is peak season for weight loss, WW will face fresh marketing from Nutrisystem and other brands eager to woo their own new customers. But WW isn't just updating its ads. The FitPoints that its members track are now more personalized. Chat groups were added in the WW app to appeal to members in life stages, such as new moms, or with certain interests, such as vegetarianism. A loyalty program was introduced. So was content from meditation app Headspace. There are now audio workouts from Aaptiv. And Blue Apron will begin offering WW Freestyle-inspired meals in January.