Weight Watchers PR stunt leaves sour taste

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 18 October 2016
Weight Watchers Love Yourself campaign. Credit: @bkjabour

*UPDATE: Weight Watchers apologises – campaign no longer promoted

Phase one of Weight Watchers Love Yourself campaign is not quite to everyone's taste.

The NYSE-listed brand, which has operates in about 30 countries globally, this week unleashed the street marketing '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.

Its initial PR stunt, which is set to be followed by a wide scale campaign including TV ads, saw the company send female journalists a “mood light” to facilitate confidence in the bedroom. The attached note 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.”

Despite the best intentions of marketing its product by targeting people’s self esteem, and the fact it linked the campaign with its research - claiming 39% of women had negative thoughts about their appearance every day, while 61% felt their sex lives had been inhibited by their body image issues - some have frowned upon the stunt.

The Guardian‘s assistant news editor Bridie Jabour posted an image of her light bulb on Twitter and said: “How many people thought this was an okay idea before it arrived on my desk as a piece of PR?”

She went on to say it's just 'nasty', invoking those most intimate and vulnerable moments. Her post attracted many comments, 150 re-tweets and more than 200 likes.

One commenter said: “All it worked to do was show that Weight Watchers needs to hire a new PR firm or fire some PR staff.”

Another said: “Successful PR is not doing something ridiculous to elicit a reaction - that's called the Trump method.”

AdNews understands that the light bulb posting and similar street marketing efforts are only a teaser phase of the fully integrated campaign by BMF, and that once the rest of the campaign has rolled out, it will come together in a better way.

*Update: Check out the campaign here 

With only one in five Australian women reporting a healthy level of body confidence, Weight Watchers' 2016 Body Confidence Report aims to explore the complex relationship between Australian women’s self-perception and the impact it can have on their holistic well-being.

Sexologist and relationship expert Dr. Nikki Goldstein says the results tell an important story of women who consider sexual well-being an important part of their lives, but who feel their body image perceptions can impact their overall lifestyle. She adds that these new statistics underline how body confidence can affect enjoyment of many facets of a woman’s lifestyle, including sexual satisfaction.

“How we feel about our bodies has the ability to impact every aspect of our lives,” Goldstein says.

“What a woman is feeling about herself can have a huge impact on her, including between the sheets. Everything from sexual position to keeping the lights on, to being focused on what her partner is thinking can often stop her from experiencing real pleasure and enjoying the moment.”

When it comes to intimate relationships, Weight Watchers found despite receiving positive emotional support and empowerment from partners, two in five women (41% report) admit being self-conscious during sexual activities.

For more:

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

Weight Watchers turns off campaign, pulls TV ad



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