Weight Watchers sheds diet image to become WW – a 'wellness' brand

Grossman revealed her intention to respin Weight Watchers as a wellness offering earlier this year

55 years after it was first founded, Weight Watchers has changed its name to WW as part of a wholesale change in strategy that will see the company shift its focus from dieting to wellness.

Under a new strapline, 'Wellness that Works', the once diet membership company is rebranding its entire offering for a market where health and sustainability are taking precedence over size.

WW said it will now: focus on a new programme called WellnessWins which rewards members for "small, everyday behaviours" that lead to healthier habits; partner with mindfulness app Headpace to provide personalised programmes for WW members; encourage people to build communities within its app.

Crucially, it will also start offering members more food products containing no artificial sweeteners, flavours, colours or preservatives.

Along with an explainer video that riffs on the brand's heritage. The group plans to launch a new brand campaign before the year is out.

The pivot in strategy has also seen the brand restyle itself as a "technology experience" company.

Next month, it will refresh its app (which has 1.8 million monthly users) in line with the rebrand but it has also announced that it is testing skills on both the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices that will let members use their voices to check the nutritional value of their food and track their progress. This voice integration is set to launch in the US over the next few months.

“We are committed to always being the best weight management program on the planet, but now we’re putting our decades of knowledge and expertise in behavioral science to work for an even greater mission,” said Mindy Grossman, president and chief executive officer, WW.

“We are becoming the world’s partner in wellness. No matter what your goal is – to lose weight, eat healthier, move more, develop a positive mindset, or all of the above – we will deliver science-based solutions that fit into people’s lives. This is just the beginning of our journey to become the world’s partner in wellness, and I am inspired by the potential for our impact.”

Grossman revealed her intention to reimagine Weight Watchers as a wellness offering late last year.

The exec recently revealed she was achieving her aim of broadening the appeal of the company beyond its heartland of 35-plus women – noting that in the three months to the end of June this year, the business had 28% more subscribers compared to the same period last year. More than 40% of these sign-ups were new to Weight Watchers.

WW's brand refresh has been backed by board member and ambassador Oprah Winfrey, and the brand's new ad campaign and visual identity will launch in December.

“We will communicate the new articulation of the WW brand in many ways, one of the most important being our visual identity,” said Gail Tifford, chief brand officer, WW.

“We listened to both our current and prospective members and created a new look and feel that is bold, strong and modern. It expresses the role we want to play in people’s lives in becoming the world’s partner in wellness.”

The brand has recently had some movement in its marketing department, with UK marketing director Claudia Nicholls-Magielsen leaving the business in August after less than a year in the job. It's understood the company is still looking for a replacement.

Stateside, its head of US marketing Maurice Herrera departed earlier this year. It was announced last month that she was joining Pepsi's SodaStream to lead its efforts.

Tifford joined as chief brand officer in March, while Sherry Thompson became senior vice-president of US marketing in May. The brand also appointed a new US agency in the form of Anomaly.

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