For Weight Watchers, Jan. 1 is the Super Bowl — the most important advertising time of the year. People use their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and this is the prime new customer sign-up season.The first ad on NBC after the ball-drop in Times Square on New Year’s Eve? Simpson for Weight Watchers. That was just a slice of the massive media budget that Weight Watchers has running right now.
Jessica Simpson, however, threw a wrench into her $4 million endorsement deal with Weight Watchers on Dec. 30 when she tweeted this picture of her pregnant baby bump. “Bumpin’ and proud,” she told her followers.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with being pregnant. It’s just that Weight Watchers is about getting lighter and smaller, and the company has invested significantly in that idea with her as its star. But Simpson won’t be doing that anytime soon. Weight Watchers was undoubtedly hoping to show ads showing Simpson becoming progressively more svelte on its regimen. Scrub that.
It’s just the latest bump in the road for the Simpson-Weight Watchers pact.
Back in September, Simpson caused controversy for the brand when she filmed an ad that only showed her from the neck up.
The ad was filmed in the summer, just months after she gave birth to her first daughter. She was poised to show how Weight Watchers might help her lose the post-baby weight.
But then came her New Year campaign. If you were watching Rockin’ New Year’s Eve you may have seen it immediately after the stroke of midnight. There’s Simpson, hiding her body behind a truck, a loose unbuttoned plaid shirt, and a giant brass belt buckle.She claims she lost 50 pounds.
Now she’s pregnant again, and Weight Watchers was forced to change course. Worse, Simpson won’t be following the Weight Watchers’ diet while she’s endorsing the brand.
So the company used a remarkably subtle tactic to handle the news. It filmed two almost identical ads. In one, Simpson announces she’s pregnant. In the other, she only talks about how she lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers after her first kid. Unless you’re listening very closely, you can’t tell the difference between them. See them both below.
Simpson’s regular new ad:
Simpson’s baby announcement ad:
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