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.”

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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?