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Weight Watchers International, Time Life Medical and Jenny Craig Inc. collectively will spend $70 million this spring on new health marketing programs.

The efforts range from new diet plans to fitness and patient education.


An estimated $20 million campaign from J. Walter Thompson USA, New York, breaks April 7 supporting Weight Watchers' new Freedom Plan diet, replacing its existing program.

The spot TV, radio and newspaper campaign runs through June and includes direct mail plus tie-ins with Weight Watchers' frozen foods.

"The new plan eliminates a lot of the structure that made [the old diet plan] difficult," said Len Tacconi, VP-marketing at WWI.

Under the new plan members can now "take the weekend off."

The other two programs take the home video route.

While Jenny Craig's first-ever videos-three tapes focusing on very easy exercises-is hitting retailers everywhere, Time Life's new line of 30 videos will be available only at pharmacies.

"It was a tough decision we had to make to break the mold of what Time Life does by using direct marketing on TV," said James Arnold, president, Patient Education Media, the videos' production company.

"With direct marketing, it's an impulse buy; how do you find that person with a diagnosis? In the pharmacy."

A $15 million campaign from Merkley Newman Harty, New York, features former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, now medical director at Time Life Medical.

Advertising breaks April 15.

Running through June on network TV, cable and in magazines, it primarily targets consumers age 50-plus. A second ad flight, which like the first will include an 800-number identifying retailers carrying the line, hits in August.

Mr. Koop, along with broadcast journalists Linda Ellerbee and Mike Schneider and others, will host the $20 videos, which address everything from breast cancer to depression. Within a few weeks, an Internet-accessible product will also become available.

Patient Education Media licensed Time Life Medical's name, a first for Time Life.

J. Keith Green, Patient Education Media president-CEO, formerly served as vice-chairman and managing director of Scali, McCabe, Sloves, New York.


Jenny Craig's "Personal Fitness" videos will be part of a $40 million multimedia ad campaign for the Jenny Craig centers, from Suissa Miller, Santa Monica, Calif.

Ad support includes broadcast and cable TV, radio and women's magazines, and begins April 1.

"Most videos are for hard bodies," said Les Cole, senior VP-marketing for Jenny Craig. "A largely ignored segment is the non-exerciser or beginner-that's the bulk of the people out there."

Consumers who purchase the video-which stars the 63-year-old Ms. Craig and features clients from her classes-get a 25% coupon inside toward the weight loss centers.

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