Getting Better: Weight Loss Companies Switch From 'Diet-Only' Focus
Will this approach be more effective?
The shifting $38 billion U.S. diet landscape has led to some big changes in the way weight loss companies target their consumers. Less are focusing on diet-only plans, and more are touting the effects losing pounds can have on your lifestyle. Weight Watchers is adopting a more holistic approach that emphasizes wellness as much as calorie counting, and (for the first time) is employing a business-to-business method by making direct appeals to corporate clients that are seeking to pay for rising healthcare costs. Additionally, its new "360°" program adds lifestyle and environment management to its well-known food-tracking point system. "We are viewing ourselves more and more as a health-care company," said President-CEO David Kirchoff said. Slim-Fast, however, is taking a sexier approach. Its new ads tout the bedroom benefits of losing weight. They feature silhouettes of women expressing their public -- and private -- reasons for wanting to lose weight, like "I want to get into my new pants" or "I want to get into someone else's new pants." But Weight Watchers is sticking to its system. "[Weight loss is] a highly emotional issue and there are enormous barriers for people to take action and do something. There's shame, there's guilt, there's all sort of feelings that you are dealing with. So to go after the "better sex thing' seems to cheapen that," said Senior VP-Marketing Cheryl Callan. (Ad Age)