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Oprah’s 40 lb. Weight Loss Boosts Weight Watchers Stock

Dec. 22, 2016 – As the new “diet season” approaches, Oprah has announced that she lost 40 lbs. on the Weight Watchers program. The new marketing push begins next week, just before New Year’s.

The coming weeks are critical for Weight Watchers: The company typically adds about 40% of new customers in Q1, when resolutions push people to seek out diets.

WW hopes that Winfrey’s new ads, which emphasize that she still enjoys pasta and tacos, will convince dieters that its updated program is an effective weight-loss tool.

“It’s vitally important that Oprah is living the program and articulating it in a way that’s authentic,” said Maurice Herrera, the head of marketing at Weight Watchers. “It really connects with prospective members.” The ads rolling out next week show Winfrey doing yoga and cooking pasta.

Winfrey’s commercial is part of Weight Watchers new ad campaign, “Live Fully” and focuses on helping people “live the life they want, full of the great foods, people and experiences they love, and the energy that comes with good health.”

The new ad campaign follows last year’s reinvented program called “Beyond The Scale”, which placed a greater emphasis on healthy living to lose weight as opposed to just watching what members eat.

“We’ve been really pleased with the success of our Beyond the Scale program. It empowers people to eat the foods they love and live the life they want, while losing weight. In fact, our members lost 15% more weight in their first two months than those who followed the previous program,” said Stacey Mowbray, President of Americas at Weight Watchers Intl.

As the company continues its search for a new CEO, Weight Watchers is being run by a trio of executives who constitute the “interim office of the CEO.”

One other new development… New OnlinePlus subscription plan, which includes giving a 38 mm Apple Watch Series 2 to subscribers. The Apple Watch Series 2 will help subscribers keep track of their food intake as well as calories burned. Stacey Mowbray, President of Americas, said offering Apple Watch as part of the new plan will put tracking tools and essential information on the member’s wrist.The Weight Watchers app, which is compatible with the Health app on iPhone, will allow members to receive motivating notifications, badges upon reaching goals, and helpful reminders to stay on track with their plans.

The OnlinePlus membership plan costs $99.95 in the first month installment fee, followed by $34.95 monthly fee for the next 12 months. It means the total membership cost is about $520. In contrast, Weight Watchers’ standalone OnlinePlus membership costs $242 for 13 months. The 38mm Apple Watch Series 2 that Weight Watchers is offering with its new plan costs $369.

After 13 months, the membership costs $19.95 per month until you cancel. Customers are not required to return the Apple Watch Series 2 at the end of the membership period. However, they will have to pay a $304 early cancellation fee to pay for the Watch if they cancel in the first month. The cancellation fee drops by $25.33 per month after that.


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