Are Celebrity Weight Loss Spokespeople Becoming Less Credible?

Are Celebrity Weight Loss Spokespeople Becoming Less Credible?

Donny Deutch, during his weekly Today Show segment, dropped a very interesting quote.

Now, this is a rough transcription, but he said, “If I said to you, Jennifer Hudson lost 40lbs, okay…but if I say to you that your neighbor lost 40lbs, it’s more credible….Jennifer Hudson maybe has nutritionists, trainers, and there’s no aspiration to losing weight. Why use a celebrity as, “Oh, this celebrity wears this watch, the watch is gonna make me cooler,” you don’t feel any more aspiration because a celebrity does it, AND there’s less credibility.

[..] I need to be able to feel something that they have by doing what they’re doing… and weight loss isn’t one of those areas.”

jennifer-hudson-weight-watchers

Now, I’m thinking long and hard about this… and the more I think about it, the less I agree. Considering the explosion in weight-loss-related resources in the past few years, and by “last few years” I explicitly mean “since J-Hud’s initial endorsement deal” and the way that Weight Watchers played it…there are quite a few people who found something in Hudson that they, too, wanted to feel – all that “Believe,” and “Sun up in the sky” singing? We’d be fools to not acknowledge that.

This entire topic was brought about by news that Jenny Craig has decided to step away from using celebrity spokespersons to promote their services and, instead, intend to merely promote the service itself.

A novel idea.

Quick: Which weight-loss company has featured actress Valerie Bertinelli in its ads?

Or Jennifer Hudson? Or Mariah Carey? Or, ugh, big, bad Charles Barkley?

If you’re not sure, you’ve got plenty of company. That’s one major reason why Jenny Craig, which uses Bertinelli, announced that it will feature far fewer celebs going forward and, instead, will roll out a new animated advertising campaign that comes without the big celebrity endorsement fees.

(If you’re keeping score, Hudson and Barkley have starred for Weight Watchers and Carey for Jenny Craig.)

At issue: Can consumers remember which highly paid celebs hype which products? Or, even more central: Are celebrity endorsers worth all the dough? According to the folks at Ace Metrix, spokes-celebs may be doing a lot more to help their own bottom lines than the products they hype.

Overall, ads without celebrities rate slightly better with consumers than ads with celebrities, according to a recent study by Ace Metrix, a syndicated ad testing specialist. While the average Ace Metrix score of all celebrity spots in the study was 515, the average score for ads without celebs ranked slightly higher, at 529.

“Celebrities can be very polarizing,” explains Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. So, if half the consumers love the celeb in a spot — and half hate the star, he says, “you’re cutting off half of your potential audience.”

[…]

When clients ask Daboll whether to use a celeb in a spot, he says he offers one word of advice: don’t. “A good story always works better than just slapping a celebrity in an ad.”

But celebrity broker Noreen Jenny Laffey, president of Celebrity Endorsement Network, says it’s not that simple — particularly with weight-loss ad campaigns. “The problem isn’t the celebrity,” she says, but the fact that celebs in weight-loss ads all pretty much do and say the same thing: I used this product, and I lost weight.

That’s not only boring — but also confusing. “It’s hard when you have competitive products using celebrities to basically say the same thing,” she says. The cola and sneaker giants face these same problems, she notes. “You need to do something totally different that stands out.”[source]

Perhaps the point about no one knowing which brand any given celebrity is promoting ties into my earlier point – when J-Hud came out endorsing Weight Watchers, seems like everyone was benefiting from her singing and dancing commercials. She might’ve inspired lots of people to lose, but was it enough to push them towards Weight Watchers?

What do you think?

By | 2017-06-10T11:20:23+00:00 May 26th, 2015|Celeb Watch|16 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.

16 Comments

  1. Brandy August 19, 2013 at 11:46 AM - Reply

    Whenever I see a celebrity saying they lost weight due to a certain program I crack some side eye. Don’t get me wrong, I applaud their efforts but I find it hard to believe they only ate the prepackaged frozen meals and worked out at their local gym for a few weeks and lost all their weight. I’m sure some of them have personal trainers and chefs.

    I would rather see Becky from Tulsa and actually SEE what her journey is. Give Becky a camera and allow us to follow her journey, counting points with Weight Watchers or eating her frozen meals with Jenny. I want to see Becky work out, be it in her home or a gym, I want to see her fight through the pain and struggle to be triumphant. Things like that give me hope.

    I don’t knock the celeb because, their struggle can be real too but celebs are on a different plane and too many times we have been duped by amazing weight loss and been later told it was lipo.

    • Juanita August 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM - Reply

      Exactly, I feel the same way. I just had this discussion last night about using celebs for endorsements. Yes I rather see someone who looks like me going thru their struggle and losing the weight than a celeb who has the money and the means to give them the extra help. If I have a chef and a personal trainer I wouldn’t need weight watchers or any of the other weight loss programs. I am currently doing INSANITY, and my only gripe is that I want to see out of shape people like me going thru the program with Shaun T not someone with 6 packs and size 2 already.

  2. Kami August 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM - Reply

    In the weight loss industry, with all the dieting, nasty pre-packaged meals, low calories, and all the crazy dieting does not support maintenance for life style changes. Manytimes these ads use actors to promote the product. Many times they use photoshop to make the actor look like they have lost weight in the before and after pictures. I think that Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are not good programs but that is a entirely different topic.

    This entire topic was brought about by news that Jenny Craig has decided to step away from using celebrity spokespersons to promote their services and, instead, intend to merely promote the service itself.

    Excerpted from Are Celebrity Weight Loss Spokespeople Becoming Less Credible? | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

    Jenny Craig was not able to compete with J.Hud singing their praises. This is just a new way for Jenny Craig to gain more customer. Its not like they care about the people.
    Everyone knows it is important to have the right team around you. Sometimes the people that call themselves nutritionist and trainers and do damage in weight loss journeys. Many trainers and dietitians support low calorie dieting and disordered eating. For example workout 7 days a week with doing cardio with eating a 1100 calorie diet. What if your neighbor is doing this will it work in the long term. Everyone always promotes a diet mentality. In enironment such as weight loss camps where you are taught to excercise for the whole day, eat low calorie and drink diet soda is not all healthy. When Mr. Donny says eat less and excercise is not always the formula for everybody.

    Sorry fot the typos.

  3. marie August 19, 2013 at 1:03 PM - Reply

    Erika, your weight loss is 100% more inspiring to me than J-Hud’s although I think she did a great job as she claimed doing it to be healthier.
    I think it depends on how people are influenced by media and if they tend to choose celebrities as role models.
    The difference between two weight lost experiences that make them more inspiring are whether the person bothered to talk about her struggles and kept it more “human” or showed it like “I had this magic weight loss potion and here I am xx lbs lighter”
    But this is my personal feeling. And I don’t blame Hudson for not sharing more details, I mean that’s her business, I’m still happy for her though.

    However, I do believe that if more celebrities overweight celebrities were bragging about their weight loss stories, this might create a new trend of “loosing weight is cool” but again would it be in a healthy way?

    However

  4. marie August 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM - Reply

    Erika, your weight loss is 100% more inspiring to me than J-Hud’s although I think she did a great job as she claimed doing it to be healthier.
    I think it depends on how people are influenced by media and if they tend to choose celebrities as role models.
    The difference between two weight lost experiences that make them more inspiring are whether the person bothered to talk about her struggles and kept it more “human” or showed it like “I had this magic weight loss potion and here I am xx lbs lighter”
    But this is my personal feeling. And I don’t blame Hudson for not sharing more details, I mean that’s her business, I’m still happy for her though.

    However, I do believe that if more overweight celebrities were bragging about their weight loss stories, this might create a new trend of “loosing weight is cool” but again would it be in a healthy way?

    • christine August 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM - Reply

      I used to think yeah they have it easy cuz they have trainers and chefs..but then I got to thinking..They can still send somebody out to get them a bag of doritos..They have easier to a certain extent but if you don’t put in the work the results will still be the same

  5. Deb Bailey August 19, 2013 at 1:53 PM - Reply

    I’m happy for Jennifer Hudson and glad she reached her goals. I’ve been on Weight Watchers and had success with it, so a celebrity endorsement doesn’t mean much to me either way. My health decisions are based on what works for me. Was it always that way? Nope. When I was younger I was influenced by celebrities and had body image issues.

    It’s so easy to believe that following what a celeb is doing will give you the happiness and acceptance you’re looking for. And that conditioning is reinforced daily in our culture. So I wonder how successful Jenny Craig will be with this. It’ll be interesting to watch.

    Meanwhile, I saw that Oxygen Network is going to have a show, My Big Fat Revenge. From the producers of Biggest Loser. So I guess the idea is to torment the people who made you suffer when you were overweight. And what message is that sending?

  6. DHurd August 19, 2013 at 2:27 PM - Reply

    Its hard for me to be motivated by celebs regardless of whose product they are promoting. While it may be true that the weight loss struggle is real for everyone, celeb lifestyles are so far removed from my world. They don’t consistently, meaning 200+ days per year, have the rigors of working 9 hour days, taking kids to and from school, grocery shopping while figuring out what to cook for dinner, then going home to cook dinner, feeding the family, then feeding yourself, getting kids ready for bed, finishing the laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, letting the dog out, finishing up some work on the computer, then showering and preparing for bed…all in one day, every day.
    So no one can compare their struggle to mine. I don’t have a personal assistant to run my errands, I don’t have a personal trainer to kick my butt into shape, I don’t have a nanny to look after my kids while I work out, I don’t have a personal chef to prepare healthy meals upon request. Its like comparing apples to oranges.
    While I do applaud celebs for getting healthier, my motivation comes from those around me who I see live it each and every day and who have something in common with myself.

    • Ve August 19, 2013 at 6:11 PM - Reply

      Agreed. Not that weight loss isn’t challenging in any case, but I’m only going to be so inspired by someone who has the means to easily have access to a clean-vegan-organic-whathaveyou diet cooked by a gourmet chef, hire a personal trainer to come to their house for hours daily to get them into shape, has personal staff to attend to all of their needs, has enough time to be able to dedicate themselves to fitness and weight loss if they so needed, etc.

      It’s similar to this advice for “busy working mothers”, written by Gwyneth Paltrow: http://www.videogum.com/263061/holy-shit-gwyneth-paltrow-gives-helpful-advice-to-busy-working-moms-like-herself/webjunk/
      “So, just to recap: she went to the gym, tried on a dress, did a radio interview, and made cupcakes, all before going out to dinner with friends.”

  7. Krista August 19, 2013 at 3:44 PM - Reply

    OK all these celebrities and how many of them have ballooned right back up to where there were before they endorsed a product (Kirstie Alley), you don’t see Sir Charles anymore because he couldn’t keep the weight off. J Hud is really the only one I’ve seen who has continually kept her weight off and I commend her and I had joined WW because of that. Yes celebrity have more free time and trainers and chefs but most can’t keep the weight off. I applaud anyone who attempts it and keeps the weight off.

  8. Rachelle August 19, 2013 at 4:15 PM - Reply

    I don’t necessarily think that celebrities have it easier, because I think weight loss has to come from within, no matter WHO you are. But, I’ll admit, I find it more inspiring to hear about an average person losing weight, than a celebrity. For most celebrities, looking a certain way is a part of their job. Losing weight can lead to higher pay, better roles, etc. I just feel more inspired by “Becky from Tulsa” who has a full time job, less control over her schedule and three kids. And Becky decides to start working out for her health and eating better because she loves herself. That’s inspiring to me. I’m not saying that J. Hud didn’t do it for those reasons, but I can just relate to Becky more. It makes me feel like…”If Becky can do it, I know I can do it too.”

  9. Daree August 19, 2013 at 4:42 PM - Reply

    I joined WW after watching a JHud commercial but I had already been considering wt loss for some time. We had a meeting called “If only…” where we thought of excuses such as chefs and trainers, but truth is that celebs are still people and some have the same struggles I do with self-control whether it’s food, sex, alcohol, etc. but they gotta put in the work too, regardless. (Oprah is one of the richest most influential celebs but said she has a food addiction when she interviewed Lindsay last night.)

  10. Angela August 20, 2013 at 12:16 AM - Reply

    I think J Hud is an exception to the rule. Most celebrities are not as successful as she has been in inspiring people to join a Weight Loss Program. Jenny Craig would do well to find someone like Jennifer Hudson who a large number of people can relate to (spanning race and age). I also tend to think that since the public is so accustomed to seeing overweight African American women, that African American female celebrities endorsing weight loss programs probably have broader appeal. I suspect that White audiences judge the moral character of overweight White women more harshly than they overweight women of other races.

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