Marketing Weight Loss: Jenny Craig is Over the Whole Jennifer Hudson Thing

j hud wwIf you have ever seriously contemplated beginning a new weight loss regimen, you know who Jenny Craig is. The Nestle-owned weight loss guru has long campaigned on the idea that losing weight can be easy as long as you have the right support system and pay $15 dollars a day to eat company provided meals.

Over the years, Jenny Craig’s ads have included a number of celebrity endorsers including Mariah Carey, Jason Alexander, Valerie Bertinelli and Jennifer Hudson.

No wait, that is not right.

Jennifer Hudson Endorses Weight Watchers

If you thought that Jennifer Hudson endorses Jenny Craig, you are not alone. In fact, the mistake is so common that when Leesa Eichberger took the Chief Marketing Officer position at Jenny Craig, she was bombarded with praise for the J. Hud ads.

Eichberger told Ad Age that the mistake points to a bigger issue in how weight management solutions are marketed to consumers. “The category just has a sea of same,” she said. The “same” refers mostly to the constant rotation of celebrity endorsements and before and after pictures. So Eichberger is taking a new path.

On Monday, Jenny Craig will debut a new ad campaign that focuses predominantly on the portion control and one-on-one support aspects of the program. The simpler ads will be animated and designed to showcase how Jenny is different from other weight management options.

The Takeaway

Leesa Eichberger’s new campaign shows us the importance of distinguishing yourself in a dense and competitive industry. Though celebrity endorsers do spur weight loss program sales, they do not necessarily sell a specific weight loss program when they are used for every company’s ads. If you are looking to design ads that are a cut above the competition, you need to find a way to stand out, and remind potential customers that your company is unique. You cannot let your ad content sink into the sea of same.

What have you done to distinguish your ads from the competition?

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A teacher by trade, Elizabeth LaBelle graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2011. After specializing in Political Science and Francophone Studies with a minor in Korean, the only tangible skill she can show for it is the ability to write in all three languages. Elizabeth never thought she would get paid to write in any language – but after four years washing dishes in an industrial kitchen and a year selling office supplies door-to-door, nothing surprises her. When she’s not writing or teaching, Elizabeth coaches high school debate and forensics. Her hobbies include thoroughbred racing, competitive pool playing and hunting for the perfect Chicago apartment.

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