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Weight Watchers ends use of ‘weight’ in branding

Weight Watchers ends use of ‘weight’ in branding
September 24, 2018

Weight Watchers has unveiled a lightened version of its name, rebranding itself WW, in what it says will be "the next stage of the company's evolution".

The global weight loss company says the new name reflects its development from focusing on weight loss to overall health and wellness, although Chief Executive Mindy Grossman is says the letters WW do not refer to a specific acronym.

Grossman said they did not stand for Weight Watchers or ‘Wellness that Works’, a phrase the company has trade marked, but were simply "a marque", commenting “that marque represents our heritage and history and what we are going forward.”

Grossman (pictured below), who took on the top role at the company just over a year ago, said the firm had been shifting from a focus on just weight loss to its broader remit looking at "wellness" over the past two years.

She added “this is just a next step, a point of validation. Like any brand we have to stay relevant.”

US media personality Oprah Winfrey - who bought a stake in the company in 2015 and works as an ambassador for Weight Watchers - said she had always thought that the company's role in people's lives "goes far beyond a number on the scale".

Winfrey's involvement has seen the firm's share price surge from under US$5 each to about US$70 currently. Its latest results show sales rose nearly 18% in the three months to the end of June, with subscribers up by one million from a year earlier to 4.5 million.

During its 55-year history, the firm has focused mainly on weight loss. US business entrepreneur Jean Nidetch, who founded the firm, described herself as a "formerly fat housewife".

The new branding comes amid a backlash against the word ‘weight’.

Earlier this year, Weight Watchers' decision to offer free membership for the summer to teenagers, sparked an outcry from eating disorder groups, with a hashtag #wakeupweightwatchers quickly gaining ground.

Meanwhile, social media campaigns such as the #iweigh hashtag have become popular while

Sport England's This Girl Can campaign - recently introduced in Australia - encourage more women to take up exercise and featured women of all shapes and sizes taking part in a variety of sports.

Weight Watchers' rebranding includes updating its so called Fit points system to encourage subscribers to choose activities which have the biggest impact on health, and a new focus on ‘healthy habits’ in its app for those ‘who want to build healthy habits without focusing on weight loss’.

It has also personalised its online user groups to help members find like-minded people.

The rebrand is aimed at broadening its appeal to attract more potential users, but also to encourage subscribers to stay with them long-term.

Commenting on the challenge, Grossman added “the paradox is that everyone is talking about wellness and nobody wants to use (the words) diet or weight, but we're not getting healthier.”

For more information go to www.weightwatchers.com/au/

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3rd May 2018 - Exploring Successful Weight Loss Programs in Fitness Centres and Clubs

4th April 2018 - Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign makes Australian debut

14th March 2018 - Tony de Leede launches Club W concept, a new ‘third space’ for women’s wellness

9th May 2016 - Science conference hears that exercise has more impact on health than diet

10th October 2015 - Rise in obesity hits United Nations goals on diet-related diseases

29th September 2015 - Heart Foundation highlights massive danger for ‘overweight’ Darwin

19th February 2015 - 2.3 million Australians are on a diet, but nutrition fads not the answer

16th January 2015 - Inaugural Global Weight Management Congress to unveil strategies to tackle obesity epidemic

13th August 2014 - Ardent Leisure buys into Hypoxi weight management concept

14th March 2014 - Australian fitness businesses turn to Metabolic Jumpstart for weight loss results

10th February 2014 - True Women’s Fitness and Wellbeing to launch revolutionary new weight loss solution

9th January 2014 - US Federal Trade Commission charges TV weight-loss companies with fraud

2nd August 2011 - Weight-loss campaigns a waste of money

20th January 2011 - Oprah Australian adventure screened to US audiences

28th January 2010 - Goodlife Launches Revive Weight Control Program


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