Almost anyone who has watched any female-focused television show in the past twenty years has seen a weight-loss program commercial with a celebrity endorsing said program. From Jennifer Hudson pushing Weight Watchers to weight-loss mavens Kirstie Alley’s on-and-off relationship with Jenny Craig, the $61-billion weight-loss industry parades celebrities out in front of consumers, hoping they buy what J-Hud and her elk are exclaiming — sometimes so annoyingly.
But apparently, many folks are telling marketing testers that they are growing weary of celebrity weight-loss endorsers. And it shouldn’t be mystery why folks shun million-dollar celeb campaigns considering the round-the-clock coverage most endorsers receive.
Tabloids documented Jennifer Hudson’s dramatic weight-loss thru pictures and her very candid interviews, which she admitted to having world-class trainers, chefs, and the support of her bodybuilder and WWE wrestler husband, David Otunga, a.k.a. Punk.
Accordingly, advertisers now want to shift ads towards Subway’s historically well marketed “Jared” campaign, taking a seemingly unknown person and showing how much Subway’s food helped in his weight-loss journey.
“We see in our data that, on average, ads that have a celebrity in them do less well than ads that don’t,” Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, an advertising analytics company, told Today. “The basic problem with celebrity ads is that they don’t appeal to everyone. You think about finding a celebrity, and it’s really difficult to find one that everybody likes.”
Most folks would think that Jennifer Hudson, Jessica Simpson, or Valerie Bertinelli would all have high Q scores, but in popular culture, one misstep, one commercial too many, one high-note off-key, and millions of dollars of advertising goes down the drain.
According to New York Times, Medifast, a fairly new weight-loss company that probably needed to save money rather than splurge on some corpulent celeb, launched a campaign with nondescript dieters, filming their conversations with their former, heavier selves after completing a nine-month program.
“I broke down in tears,” one participant said, “because I remember ‘that’ girl, and I remember how badly she was feeling and not wanting to get up from the couch or play with my daughter because my knees would ache or ankles would ache.”
All the tears and emotion seems to have worked as the commercials were highly successful and resonated with potential dieters. Mad Men marketers are adjusting to an American consumer population more obsessed with not feeling duped by celebrities they can’t seem to stop following on social media networks, gossip rags, and televised gossip programs.
“I think they’re brilliant because they feel authentic,” said Jay Jacobs of the Medifast commercials. Jacobs competed on the 11th season of the weight loss show The Biggest Loser, dropping a total of 181 lbs. “They didn’t feel staged, they didn’t feel trite — they were all very believable, and that’s what’s going to make them resonate with people.”