The XX Factor

How to Sell Dieting to Men? Don’t Use Celebrities.

Weight Watchers has a new ad campaign debuting on Sunday that is directed at men-currently only about 10 percent of their customer base. According to Crain’s New York Business, Weight Watchers is taking a tech angle with guys: The company is emphasizing their iPhone and Droid apps, and they’re especially promoting their online beer cheat sheet , which lists the calorie counts of different kinds of brews.

Weight Watchers is also smart to avoid the pitfalls of other dieting ad campaigns geared towards men by using real guys in their ads , rather than celebrities. Though WW ads with J ennifer Hudson are appealing to their female base , studies have shown that men are generally less susceptible to celebrity endorsements than women are. Furthermore, Weight Watchers competitor Jenny Craig-which Crain’s points out has a natural disadvantage in attracting male customers because of its name-is doing itself no favors by using Jason Alexander as a spokesman. Note to Jenny’s ad agency: If you’re trying to appeal to the average dude, showing Jason Alexander in his skivvies while performing a musical number is not the best way to go.

The Weight Watchers ad below addresses the notion that diet programs are just for women. It still relies on tried and true dude stereotypes (they love booze and grilling!) but it is a vast improvement on Larry the Cable Guy’s NutriSystem ads from a few years back, the ones where he says “I ate like a man oughta, the whole time. Pizza, burgers, beef-meals for men with chest hair.” Do you think the ad campaign will be successful in attracting male customers?