A light bulb moment? Weight Watchers stands by controversial PR stunt

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 19 October 2016

Suggesting overweight people avoid sex with the lights on may have landed the diet lords in a spot of hot (healthy) broth, but the brand says it's a topic its members do want to discuss.

Following an online backlash to its PR stunt whereby female *journalists were sent a “mood light” to facilitate confidence in the bedroom, Weight Watchers says while the topic can spark emotion, it knows it’s something some of its members do want to talk about.

Yesterday the brand slipped out the 'teaser' phase of its new campaign, which was devised off the back of research that claims half of Australian women avoid getting hot and heavy under lights due to body image issues.

The move drew online criticism and a social media backlash. One journalist went on to say it's just 'nasty', invoking those most intimate and vulnerable moments. Her post attracted many comments and hundreds of re-tweets and likes.

What about the men?

AdNews readers also commented on yesterday's PR stunt questioning “what about the fat men that want lights off”, with one adding that it was a “shallow and somewhat masculine interpretation of how to cash in on a feminine vulnerability”. Another commented that there was “no need for everyone to freak out about it”.

Weight Watchers says the initial PR stunt, which is part of a fully integrated campaign with creative by BMF, may have been taken out of context without the other campaign assets, such as the TVC. As a result it brought forward the push and released it later that day on YouTube.

However, speaking to AdNews, a Weight Watchers spoksperson says: “Weight Watchers understands this is a topic which can spark emotion, but knows it’s something some of its members – and the general public – want to talk about.

“Weight Watchers believes it has a role to play in equipping women with the tools and support they need to live their best lives and make lasting lifestyle changes, which improve their holistic physical and emotional well-being.”

A good sex life is important

The Weight Watchers spoksperson went on to say the brand had noticed its members having a conversation about how improvements in their health and well-being empowered them to feel more confident in all aspects of their lives, which included their sexual well-being.

In response, it conducted independent research to better understand the state of Australian/New Zealand women’s self confidence levels on a topic not often discussed, to explore how it could play a greater role in supporting members who wanted to get more from all aspects of life, including in the bedroom.

The spoksperson added that the results tell an important story of women who consider sexual well-being an important part of their lives. The report also revealed that 63% of Australian women believed that a good sex life is important to well-being (60% for New Zealand), but almost half (49% in Aus/NZ) reported lower than ideal sexual enjoyment, with a quarter reporting having avoided sexual activity on at least one occasion due to body self-consciousness (Aus 24%, NZ 27%).

In case you missed it, the attached note to journalists said: “Let's be honest for a minute, sex is pretty damn fantastic. But if you've ever felt self-conscious in the sack you’re not alone – we've heard that more than half of women have avoided sex because they were worried about how they look.

“This globe is a 'mood light' designed to give you a little boost in the bedroom (a PG sex toy, if you will). We hope it helps you start seeing yourself in a new light – to love how you look and love how you feel.”

*AdNews journos are yet to receive their light bulbs  

*UPDATE: Weight Watchers apologises – campaign no longer promoted

For more:
Weight Watchers PR stunt leaves sour taste
Weight Watchers turns off campaign, pulls TV ad

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

Read more about these related brands, agencies and people

comments powered by Disqus