SBD/January 4, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Weight Watchers CEO Talks About Charles Barkley's Role In New Campaign

Weight Watchers CEO & President David Kirchhoff appeared on Fox Business yesterday and said the company is beginning '12 with a "huge push ... behind getting men engaged with Weight Watchers," including signing Basketball HOFer Charles Barkley as the company's new spokesperson. Kirchhoff said, "We’re investing aggressively behind technology and enabling platforms, and we’re also putting a ton of work behind advertising that cuts through and hits the mark.” Fox Business’ Liz Claman noted she saw the Barkley commercial earlier in the week and said, "I thought, a) ‘Wow, they got Charles Barkley,' and b) ‘Yes, he gained some weight.’ How did you land him and is that a focused effort to get more male customers?” Kirchhoff: “It’s a huge effort to get more male customers. Obesity affects men exactly the same way it affects women. Having a spokesperson like Charles who can himself make changes in his life -- he is eating vegetables and fruits for the first time in his life. He’s living differently. That’s the message we need to get out.” Claman noted Barkley was "very believable in that commercial” (“After The Bell,” Fox Business, 1/3). Barkley appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last night, where host Jon Stewart noted Barkley is the new face of Weight Watchers' campaign for men. Stewart said to Barkley, “You're a man of style and distinction. When you lose this type of weight, your tailor, is he on call?” Barkley: “I have two wardrobes: A skinny wardrobe and a fat wardrobe.” Barkley, laughing, said, "It is a problem, though, because right now none of my clothes are really fitting. But it's stupid of me to get new stuff made until I get where I'm going to get at some point.” Stewart offered “two words” of advice: “Male spanx.” Barkley: “No, no, no.” Stewart replied, “You're saying it's not manly. You’re saying it’s not pro-athlete.” Barkley: “It's not manly, no” ("The Daily Show," Comedy Central, 1/3).
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