Weight Watchers Adds Chief Brand Officer, Conference Call Set, Sets Goals

Company Sets Goals for 2020 - Feb. 7, 2018

Weight Watchers set some strategic goals at a global employee event today. The plans include expanding Weight Watchers' impact as a "technology experience" company and aligning the business with consumer expectations of wellness and healthy living.

The Weight Watchers moves also include the removal of all artificial ingredients from products that carry the Weight Watchers brand and free memberships to teenagers aged 13 to 17 during the summer of 2018.

As a financial target, Weight Watchers wants to increase revenue to more than $2 billion, driven primarily by new member growth and improved retention, as well as increase profit at an even higher rate than sales.

The stock market apparently liked what it heard, as WTW shares moved sharply higher, to more than $73 in trading.

New Brand Officer Announced - Feb. 5, 2018

Feb. 5, 2018 -- Weight Watchers today announced that Gail Tifford has been appointed Chief Brand Officer, responsible for activating the evolution of the Weight Watchers brand. In this role, Tifford will create one voice for the organization and lead execution of that new vision in both physical and digital environments.

CEO Mindy Grossman commented, "Weight Watchers is an iconic brand with enviable equity – particularly on efficacy and community. But there is also incredible opportunity to elevate the brand and make WW more meaningful to today's world. Drawing on 20 years of proven brand-building experience, Gail will build on that heritage to develop the next evolution of the Weight Watchers brand that will inspire healthy habits that fit into everyday life. Her global mindset and successful track record with rolling out disruptive technologies in support of a greater brand purpose are tremendous assets as we look toward the future, when every consumer and employee touch-point around the world exudes our core brand promise."

Tifford joins Weight Watchers from Unilever where she served as Vice President, Media North America and Global Digital Media Innovation. At Unilever, Tifford introduced the company's first digital disruption roadmap, which established a global vision and strategy for digital media innovation across social commerce, augmented reality, AI and blockchain. Prior to her tenure at Unilever, Tifford was Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at Viacom, where she led the development of multi-platform media and marketing programs for Fortune 500 companies on MTV and VH1 brands.

Marketdata Commentary

We're glad to see the position added but question recruiting someone from Unilever. After all, Unilever bought the Slim-Fast brand in 2000 for $2.3 billion (then a $600 million product line) and ran it into the ground via a lack of marketing support, turning it into a less than $200 million brand by 2014, ultimately selling it to private equity firm Kainos Capital. Why not recruit someone with a WINNING track record of promoting weight loss products and services?

During the global event on Feb. 7, things were said that we haven't heard for a long time--that the company will seek to reach people of different ages, different ethnic groups, life cycle stages, and different locations. This shows the change in strategy by the new CEO, breaking with the arrogant attitude of the Jim Chambers reign where people under age 48 were basically ignored as potential clients. Good news all around.

4th Quarter and Full Year Earnings Report Conference Call Set for Feb. 27th, after the market closes.

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