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Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2008 at 8:39 am

Jenny Craig Does Me Proud… and Throws Me a Curveball

By Michele Miller
October 7th, 2008

Jenny Craig has just announced their new celebrity spokesperson, and they haven’t disappointed me. But they did throw me for a loop.

Remember a few weeks back, when I wrote about the perceived marketing strategy for the Jenny Craig weight loss centers? At the time, I ruminated over the possibility that the marketing and advertising execs at Jenny Craig were either consciously or unconsciously using personas to drive the success of their celebrity spokespeople campaigns. (To read the original post, traverse over here)

I noted the distinct differences between Kirstie Alley (Spontaneous), Valerie Bertinelli (Methodical), and Queen Latifah (Humanistic), and applauded Jenny Craig for being savvy enough to create different marketing “languages” for each celebrity’s ads – language that resonated with the segment of the female market that was targeted. At the time, I wrote:

“It will be interesting to see if the next celebrity spokesperson for Jenny Craig completes the persona cycle by using a Competitive type. Hmmmm. I wonder who it will be. Who would you like to see in the spotlight?”

Guess what? Jenny’s new spokesperson is a Competitive.

It’s also a man.

NBA star Baron Davis of the Los Angeles Clippers is the newest face of Jenny Craig. Talk about competitive – a star athlete who has the drive to win at all costs. The story is that he is trying Jenny Craig as a way to “stay in shape during the off season.” There are no TV ads yet, but check out this copy taken directly from the Jenny Craig website:

baron_davis.jpg“As a powerful professional point guard, Baron Davis never stops improving his game. And as a professional athlete, he knows that a balance of height and weight is crucial to a player’s performance. So when Baron wanted to drop weight in the off season to get into his best game shape, he went one-on-one with Jenny Craig and lost 19 pounds!*

As a busy guy on the go, Baron enjoys the convenience of Jenny Direct®, the at-home program where consultations are done over the phone and food is delivered right to your door!”

This is a Competitive type’s dream copy – talk of improving your game, striving for ultimate performance, and the convenience of the at-home program. It speaks directly to the heart of the potential customer.

Having a man complete the cycle isn’t bad at all; Competitive types in particular are drawn to achievers no matter what the gender. It will definitely bring in more male clients to Jenny, and Competitive women will see that weight loss can mean more than looking good in the mirror. It’s all about performance.

Kudos to Jenny Craig for some of the smartest marketing around – they are quickly becoming my new “poster child” for brilliant marketing to women.

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Comments (10)

  1. As a persona strategy, having competitive as an option works for men. However, in the weight loss business, it is 98% female.

    Marketing to men for weight loss is a mistake companies make from time to time. Weight watchers did it in the past and abandoned it.

    For the amount of the spend they’ll make, the results will be negligible.

    Great persona – bad business decision.

    Just plain dumb.

  2. I don’t know about that. Men have changed their “beauty” habits substantially in just the past couple of years. The skin creams and other beauty aids that were historically a woman only market has grown and continues to grow at a healthy rate.

    I could also see where Weight Watchers (in the past) would have problems appealing to men. They heavily encouraged you to attend their on-site meetings. Yes, they now have on-line capabilities, but when they were advertising to men they didn’t. My father has just recently joined the online weight watchers program, but wouldn’t have consider going to a meeting.

    Now to the other aspect of competitive. Women compete too. I am an avid cyclist and have trouble keeping weight off in the winter months. I, too, need a little extra help. I am very interested in watching him.

    I also have a son who is an awesome athlete, but struggles with his weight. I preach healthy eating to him and Baron will provide a great roll model.

    I think it’s a great move from numerous aspects!

  3. What I don’t quite understand is that professional sports teams have the best trainers, nutritionists, and doctors in the world. I have a hard time believing that Baron Davis is going to use a mass-market brand like Jenny Craig in lieu of specialized advice from professional nutritionists. As a 220 pound male marathoner always looking to lose weight to improve performance, I don’t really relate to a professional NBA player. It seems to me he’s just taking the payday.

  4. I think it’s a good way to expand their product into the area of “it’s ok for men to use it too.” I’ve wondered for a while exactly why they were targeting only women!

  5. I don’t know.
    Appealing to 50% of the planet’s audience seems like a good idea to me :)

    I think it’s a good way to expand their product into the area of “it’s ok for men to use it too.” I’ve wondered for a while exactly why they were targeting only women!

  6. I think Rhea is right. I don’t think a man will hurt them at all.

    Nowadays when everyone talks about eating healthy and eating right, a “role model” who isn’t just holding up a product saying “Buy these Nikes” but is actually using the product and staying on a strict regiment is good persuasion.

    I don’t think women who are “competitive” will be turned off by a man, theyll read more into his story than his gender. Women of this type I don’t see as being as “emotional” meaning their heart strings aren’t pulled as easily as the women who read into queen latifas story. Theyre no nonsense, looking for a product that keeps them on their game and on their toes.

  7. It’s going to take some work on their part before men take this product seriously though. I can’t imagine myself, or other men being super fond of being on the Jenny Craig plan. Probably a hard sell for them to re-image given their well known names/brands.

  8. Men definitly will not gravitate towards anything they view as completly dominated by female customers. The simple fact is, most men would like to lose weight yet do not take the same route as women. Men join gyms to lose weight, not programs, especially not one named Jenny Craig. Think about it, how many men in your life would admit to going to Jenny? Chances are you dont know many. While the ad makes sense in theory, your advertising should always be aimed at those who are most likely to use your product, not those that history and research has shown do not.

  9. I could also see where Weight Watchers (in the past) would have problems appealing to men. They heavily encouraged you to attend their on-site meetings. Yes, they now have on-line capabilities, but when they were advertising to men they didn’t. My father has just recently joined the online weight watchers program, but wouldn’t have consider going to a meeting.

  10. What I don’t quite understand is that professional sports teams have the best trainers, nutritionists, and doctors in the world. I have a hard time believing that Baron Davis is going to use a mass-market brand like Jenny Craig in lieu of specialized advice from professional nutritionists.

    That was also my thought after reading this post..makes no sense!

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