WWatchers Marketing to young and middle aged women .pdf



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Weight Watchers case study

Marketing diet food and drink to young and
middle aged women

Reference Code: BPCS56
Publication Date: 08/04

www.datamonitor.com
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ABOUT DATAMONITOR
Datamonitor plc is a premium business information company specializing in industry
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We help our clients, 5000 of the world’s leading companies, to address complex
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Please note that the findings, conclusions and recommendations that Datamonitor delivers will be based
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taken based on any information that may subsequently prove to be incorrect.
Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 2

WHAT IS THIS REPORT ABOUT?
This report forms part of Datamonitor's case studies series, which explores business practices
across a variety of disciplines and business sectors. The series covers a range of markets
including food and drink, retail, banking and insurance, pharmaceuticals and software.
Each case study provides a concise evaluation of a company that stands out in some area of
its strategic operations, highlighting the ways in which the company has become one of the
best in its field or how it deals with different problems encountered within that sector.

Who is the target reader?
This case study is designed for industry executives, consultants, analysts and researchers,
providing them with a useful benchmarking tool and offering a blueprint for potential
improvements.
It provides valuable insight into the methods used by important industry players that give them
a competitive edge, allowing the reader to capitalize on the knowledge of experienced
companies when, for example, entering a new niche or market.

Report content
The report is divided into three main parts – Introduction, Case Study and Conclusion –
followed by Research Methodology and Related Research sections:
Introduction: provides historical background on the company and explains how the
company has responded to a particular business challenge.
Case study: provides the main body of text, detailing the company's approach to a
particular challenge; for example, superior customer relationship management, use of
technology, sales and marketing techniques, etc.
Conclusion: highlights the main findings of the report, summarizing the key
strategies the company has employed.
Research Methodology: details when research was carried out and the approach
used in writing the report.
Related Research: lists a number of reports on a similar theme to the case study,
which may assist the reader in further research.

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 3

Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT DATAMONITOR

2

WHAT IS THIS REPORT ABOUT?

3

INTRODUCTION

6

CASE STUDY

7

Weight Watcher's brand publicized by website

7

Communicating directly with the target audience through a unique channel

8

Potential for other manufacturers to launch diet products

10

CONCLUSIONS

11

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

13

RELATED RESEARCH

14

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 4

Table of Contents

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1:

Weight Watchers' website logo

7

Figure 2:

Example products from the Weight Watchers food range

8

Figure 3:

Weight Watchers magazine

9

Figure 4:
product

Nutritional information shown at the front of a Weight Watchers'

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

10

BPCS56
Page 5

Introduction

INTRODUCTION
The Weight Watchers brand used to be synonymous with slimming clubs, which
offered regimented diets and required people to count calories in order to lose weight.
The popularity of these clubs experienced a decline in the late 1980s and early 1990s
as the emerging generation of adult dieters sought more private ways to lose weight
than being publicly weighed each week and switched to a variety of other weight loss
programs such as exercise classes, more flexible diets that were easier to fit into their
lifestyle and the increasing number of ‘celebrity’ diets and weight loss programs.
Weight Watchers fought back by modernizing its programs by introducing the Points
system where every food is allocated a Points value based on the saturated fat and
calorie content. All members are allocated a Points allowance of around 20 points per
day, meaning they can eat food they enjoy as long as they stay within their Points
allowance. The company has also introduced Weight Watchers online for people who
do not find it easy to attend a meeting – or who would rather not.
Previously the Weight Watchers diets had depended on people eating a number of
proprietary brands of products for which the nutritional details had been calculated.
There were a few meals produced by Heinz but these did not form a substantial part
of the plan. Weight Watchers now has a large number of branded ready meals on the
market.
The company has been chosen for this case study because of the phenomenal
success of the launch of its own range of ready meals. These are all manufactured
under licence and sold under the Weight Watchers brand with striking blue and white
packaging in most of the UK supermarkets.

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 6

Case Study

CASE STUDY

Weight Watcher's brand publicized by website
The company's website, www.weightwatchers.co.uk, has been instrumental in
publicizing the company's products. The website contains an up to date list of all the
foods the company has launched, as well as stockist information and information
about new products. These foods advertise the Weight Watchers brand to people
who may otherwise not have come across it and could then lead to them connecting
to Weight Watchers online or joining a meeting.
Figure 1:

Weight Watchers' website logo

Source: Weight Watchers

DAT AMONITOR

The range includes many staple foods such as bread, breakfast cereals and
dressings as well as other less obvious choices for dieters such as wine, chocolate
muffins, brownies and flapjacks.
The bright packaging gives the brand a modern look and includes clear nutritional
labeling providing Points values, saturated fat and calorie content in an ‘at a glance’
format for consumers. Many of the items such as the sandwich range make it easier
for people who are following the program to stick to it when they are out of their home
without having to make up packed meals in advance. Additionally, the brand has
become popular with people who would not ever consider going to a meeting or
following the whole diet plan but who recognize the logo and know that the brand
offers lower calorie, healthy meal options.

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 7

Case Study

Figure 2:

Example products from the Weight Watchers food range

Source: Weight Watchers

DAT AMONITOR

Communicating directly with the target audience through a
unique channel
The company's Weight Watchers magazine has also been an invaluable tool in
gaining consumer interest in the brand. The magazine is published in the UK by an
independent publisher under license to Weight Watchers brand. The current publisher
took over the title in 2002 and relaunched it in June 2002. Since that time circulation
has grown by 10% issue on issue.
The magazine’s target audience is people aged 25-45 years old and demographically
these people are ABC1/C2. 90% of the readership is female. In June to December
2003 the magazine had an ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) figure of 220,669. The
NRS (National Readership Survey) figure for the same period is 1.4 million. These
two groups of statistics are regarded as industry standards on which circulation and
readership of publications are measured. The magazine was awarded the PPA
Independent Publishers award for best relaunch in 2002 to 2003.
Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 8

Case Study

Weight Watchers Magazine aims to be a glossy magazine that is easy to read and
contains lots of real life success stories from people their readership can identify with
rather than featuring celebrity diet successes. The cover model each month is a real
Weight Watchers success story and the magazine also has health, beauty and hair
features, as they believe people who lose weight often change their appearance and
lifestyle to suit their new, more confident personality.
Figure 3:

Weight Watchers magazine

Source: Amazon

DAT AMONITOR

The magazine aims to help readers get started with their weight loss, keep on track
while losing weight and maintain their weight loss. 60% of the circulation is through
retailers while the remaining 40% is sold through Weight Watchers meetings. Mary
Placzek, the publisher of Weight Watchers Magazine, said: “Despite fierce
competition with most magazines featuring some information on diets and a growing
number of specific diet magazines, we continue to grow our readership. People trust
the Weight Watchers brand and therefore actively choose our magazine”.

Weight Watchers case study
© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)
This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

BPCS56
Page 9

Case Study

Potential for other manufacturers to launch diet products
Weight Watchers food products are made under license by food manufacturers who
then benefit from the ‘trust’ consumers have in the Weight Watchers brand.
The clear way in which the nutritional information is displayed, briefly on the front,
then in more detail on the back of Weight Watchers food products, has made it very
popular with dieting consumers and is something which could be easily transferred to
other manufacturers' meal solutions.
Figure 4:

Nutritional information shown at the front of a Weight
Watchers' product

Source: Productscan

DAT AMONITOR

Licenses have been given for a wide variety of basic foods, which cover the majority
of different meal options including potential problem meals such as lunch and
snacking items. Most people who are trying to lose weight can eat breakfast and
evening meals at home but find it harder to stick to their diet while eating out. Weight
Watchers' sandwiches and snacks have made this easier for many people. Other
manufacturers and retailers could introduce healthier options to their lunch and snack
ranges and ensure that nutritional information on these is clearly and simply
conveyed to consumers.

Weight Watchers case study

BPCS56

© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)

Page 10

This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

Conclusions

CONCLUSIONS
Weight Watchers’ development of its strong, new products under the Weight
Watchers label has strengthened and helped update an ailing brand. When Weight
Watchers found the numbers of people wanting to attend its meetings were slipping it
found alternative ways of reaching people through its online service, relaunched
magazine and through its new licensed products, which were all marketed under the
same brand and with the same striking logo.
Other manufacturers who feel they are losing market share could also explore other
ways of reaching their target audience online, through advertising or editorial in
magazines or possibly by rebranding or targeting a different group of consumers.
Easier said than done, but branching out in this way can prove extremely profitable as
demonstrated by Weight Watchers.
The company's products have clear nutritional information on each pack with a fast
and easy to use summary on the front of its packages. Furthermore, its products
make it easy to stick to a diet away from the home as well as in the home, with the
company's sandwiches and snacks available in high street stores for lunchtime
consumption.
Weight Watchers has been successful in reaching people in the 36-55 year old group
because their Points system means people can eat whatever foods they choose. The
Weight Watchers program can fit into family meals without people having to cook
different meals for all the family making it easier for busy parents to manage to lose
weight but still feed their whole family.
Weight Watchers meetings appeal to people, predominantly women, who may not
want to go to the gym but who welcome the support of peers in their weight loss
program. Younger women are more likely to go to the gym and to read magazines
such as Closer, Heat and other younger women’s titles which feature celebrity style
diets.

Weight Watchers case study

BPCS56

© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)

Page 11

This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

Conclusions

Before the gym grew in popularity slimming clubs existed, so many women in the 3655 year old age group have grown up with the familiarity of these sorts of meetings.
However by targeting women aged 25-45 in its magazine, Weight Watchers is
keeping their existing club members satisfied and also beginning to build
relationships with the younger market. The online presence will also encourage this
customer renewal, ensuring the brand does not age but is constantly replenishing
itself with new customers.

Weight Watchers case study

BPCS56

© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)

Page 12

This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

Research Methodology

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This case study was derived from Datamonitor's study of the adult food and drink
market, which was carried out between June and August 2004. The hypotheses
presented in this report were supported by a series of interviews with industry
executives, in addition to secondary literature and in-house sources of information.

Weight Watchers case study

BPCS56

© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)

Page 13

This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied

Related Research

RELATED RESEARCH

Marketing Food and Drinks to Adults Volume 2: 36 – 55 year olds
This report reveals how older adult consumers have different stages in their lifecycles
when their wants and needs alter.
Published: August 2004

Marketing Food and Drinks to Adults Volume 1: 20 – 35 year olds
This report reveals how young adult consumers have different stages in their
lifecycles and how their wants and needs reflect this.
Published: August 2004

Kids and Health: Obesity issues and ethical food and drinks marketing
to children under 16 years old
This report examines the profit opportunities and threats that companies which
manufacture and market food and drinks products to children face over the next three
years.
Published: July 2004

Winning Brand Strategies in Food and Drink: Increasing dominance,
product appeal and market share
This report a new strategic management report analyzing the major trends and
developments of brands by product segment and country.
Published: April 2004

Weight Watchers case study

BPCS56

© Datamonitor (Published 08/2004)

Page 14

This brief is a licensed product and is not to be photocopied


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