Weight Watchers was losing big … customers and money, that is. Until they reached out to someone who could help them fatten up their wallets. Almost to the day Weight Watchers launched their new campaign with Oprah Winfrey, the company saw a massive uptick in share price as investor optimism soared.
This is because Oprah – who could easily be crowned queen of all media – reportedly lost 40 pounds using Weight Watchers. She didn’t give up bread or good tasting food, she just used the program and found success.
And that’s exactly the message Weight Watchers wants their audience to hear … and that message may be coming from exactly the right person. Oprah was not shy about her excitement related to her results, releasing a statement which read, in part:
“Weight Watchers is easier than any other program I’ve ever been on. It’s a lifestyle, a way of eating and a way of living that’s so freeing. You never feel like you are on a diet and it works…”
Could it have helped that Oprah is one of the top three shareholders in the company with 6.4 million shares? Shares that paid her about $10 million when the stock went up. Maybe consumers will care, but it probably won’t matter to Oprah’s fans, who have been loyal to the former talk show host and actor since the 80s.
But the news is not entirely rosy for Weight Watchers investors. Shares dropped 50 percent in 2016, giving them lots of room to grow. Now, investors are hoping this is not the beginning of the worst kind of yo-yo diet, the kind that could send the stock up down, then up and down again … in this case, losing more than they gained each time.
But that reality may very well get lost in the bigger message … that Oprah started losing weight while eating bread. This message alone clashes with the common anti-gluten, anti-starch message prevalent in the current weight loss industry. Many are saying you have to give up bread to lose weight and make it stick. But not Oprah. So, this campaign is combining a message people are dying to hear with a messenger they are accustomed to trusting.
Should be a huge win at just the right time for a company that desperately needs one.
David Milberg is an experienced credit analyst in NYC. He is a long-time owner of Milberg Factors, a factoring and finance company with locations in New York, California, and North Carolina.