The Super Bowl is a day of gleeful gluttony for most Americans, who stuff their mouths with pizza, chicken wings and chips without thinking about the consequences. But Weight Watchers hit people with a wake-up call—and perhaps inspired at least some to ease up on the chips and dip—with “All You Can Eat,” a commercial reminding us that we’re encouraged to overindulge every day of the year.
The spot actually marks the first time Weight Watchers has ever advertised during the Super Bowl. “It’s a big stage, and we have an important message,” says Maurice Herrera, Weight Watchers’ senior vice president of marketing, of the decision to get into the game now. “The reality is navigating the world of food has become incredibly hard, and we’ve reached the tipping point of an epidemic where two-thirds of Americans are overweight.”
“I love that we’re going out there with this call to action and a rallying cry,” he continues, noting that Weight Watchers is running a “Lose 10 pounds on us” introductory promotion in tandem with the release of the Super Bowl spot, waiving its sign-up fee and refunding the first two months of membership fees for new members who drop at least 10 pounds.
We see how food is like a drug being pushed on us as the provocative “All You Can Eat” opens on shots of fresh-baked muffins, a donut covered in frosting and sprinkles, a giant cup of sugary slush and a bunch of deep-fried onion rings, and we hear narrator Aaron Paul—the perfect choice for this gig, sounding an awful lot like his meth-dealing alter ego Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad—asking, “Hey, wanna get baked? And glazed? Iced? Fried? How much do you want?”
Created by Wieden + Kennedy Portland and directed by Sam Brown of Santa Monica-based production company Imperial Woodpecker, the commercial builds in intensity as it depicts the multitude of temptations we face—from all you can eat buffets to endless steak promotions to fattening movie snacks. (A longer cut of the spot has been released on the Weight Watchers site as well as YouTube.)
Now, as beneficial as it is for people to be made aware that overindulging in unhealthy food has become the American way, Weight Watchers did wonder if that message would go over well during the Super Bowl–it is, after all, hardly a day of health and wellness. So the company did do some pre-game research and found that people were indeed open to hearing about the issue, according to Herrera, who notes that making the spot entertaining and telling people they can take control of how they eat helped the message go down easier.
How about next year? Does Weight Watchers intend to make the Super Bowl a regular part of its advertising efforts? “At this point, we’re taking it one game at a time, but it’s definitely on the table for consideration,” Herrera says. “I think the determining factor is going to be whether or not we actually have something incredibly new to say along the lines of what we’re out there saying right now.”