Weight Watchers Celebrates The Newly Slim With An Outsized Ad Campaign

Saatchi & Saatchi London airs a three-minute spot featuring an original track to kick off resolution season.

January is a time of long, hard looks and corrections and, as such, is time for big marketing pushes from weight loss companies. Weight Watchers in the U.K. has come out swinging with a major new campaign called “Play” that kicks off with a three-minute commercial/music video. The ad, created by Saatchi & Saatchi London, is part of a huge brand overhaul from Weight Watchers. The company is focusing on the game aspect of its points-based system with its new brand positioning, “Weight Watchers–the game you play to lose weight.”


The spot features an original track from British pop star and TV personality Alesha Dixon, and stars 180 Weight Watchers customers in the role of video vixens.

Dixon, famous for serving as a judge on U.K. TV show Strictly Come Dancing wrote the track, “Do It Our Way (Play)” for the campaign. The video, directed by the team of Si & Ad, depicts real WW success stories lip-synching to the song, which is available for sale on iTunes. Visitors to the PlayWeightWatchers site can watch an enhanced version of the video, and click to get the stories behind each of the participants in the video.

Saatchi creatives Steve Howell and Rick Dodds say the idea for the ad and the song evolved through meeting Weight Watchers members. The agency met hundreds of members from across the U.K. who shared stories and insights on their pre- and post-Weight Watchers perspective. These insights formed a music brief that the agency presented to Dixon, who used them to write the song.

The campaign represents a complete brand refresh for Weight Watchers in the U.K., says Howell. “We’ve rebranded from head to foot, from the big TV ad, down to the coupon ads you find in the back of newspapers.”
The idea of “Play” came from “the simple truth that Weight Watchers isn’t really a diet, you can eat whatever you want still, but all you do is count your points,” says Dodds. “So you don’t really do Weight Watchers, you Play Weight Watchers.

The production of the video itself was no small challenge. “ When it came to filming the music video, just managing 180 real people on-set, and making sure we captured everything we needed for each aspect of the campaign was a huge undertaking,” says Howell. “The camera move was all in one shot, which meant we had lots of cameramen passing the camera between each other as they moved in and out of buildings, along zip-lines, through a car, and even under water. Then of course everyone had to hit their mark on cue, which wasn’t easy for 180 people who have never done anything like that before.”

Watch the making-of video below.


About the author

Teressa Iezzi is the editor of Co.Create. She was previously the editor of Advertising Age’s Creativity, covering all things creative in the brand world.