Benovitz says that consumers liked a lot of things about their program (like how easily it fit into their lifestyle), they just wanted it packaged in a new way. “We realized that if we talked about [Weight Watchers] differently and we upped certain things and played down other things, we would really be giving people pretty close to what they wanted,” she explains.
Farewell To The Diet
In 2015, Weight Watchers got to work shedding its old-fashioned image while beefing up what members appreciated most, which includes, among other things, Oprah Winfrey. The beloved celebrity signed on as a spokesperson and bought a 10% stake in the company, prompting a significant stock boost.
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Shortly thereafter, the brand revealed its Beyond the Scale program, which brought its new “livable” philosophy to two more sectors: fitness and mind-set. It’s an interconnected approach that incorporates equal amounts of movement, happiness, and meditation to one’s weight loss goal. And instead of pure calorie counting, members were encouraged to pursue healthier eating choices with the new SmartPoints system, which focuses on lean protein, fruits, and vegetables while translating mind-bogglingly complex nutritional information into simple numbers assigned a value based on calories, saturated fat, sugar, and protein.
Their program is also affordable compared to other diets, such as NutriSystem ($298 for four weeks). The average monthly cost of a standard Weight Watchers membership, which includes unlimited monthly meetings and digital tools, is $44.95.
In 2015, Weight Watchers also launched what they hoped would be millennial bait: a digital community, called Connect, where for $19.95, members swap healthy living tips, recipes, and nudge one another to keep at it. (It looks a lot like Instagram, but with far more motivational quotes and pictures of Greek yogurt.) Instead of age or location, the community is gathered together by life stages: brides getting svelte for their weddings, retirees with more time on their hands, or new moms. Each member sets personalized goals that they work toward by tracking exercise, meals, and snacks.