Wait… loss? Or Weight Loss: A New Year’s Resolution

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 9.30.04 PMI’ve never been one to actually make a new year’s resolution. I thought they were cheesy and have always felt that if I want to do something- lose weight, work smarter not harder, make more money, etc. I’m going to do it all year long not on the first day of a new year. January is also a month of melancholy for me. The holiday season is over, its time to go back to work and to be honest, in January there’s not much to look forward to but the 6 long months until the summer.

As we find ourselves here today, at the end of January, I felt it was interesting to see what the last month has looked like in the marketing world around new year’s resolutions. January was always a month when I avoided the gym- new gym goers that haven’t been since last January taking time on the machines (they’ll be gone in 2 weeks). And the countless weight loss ads on TV and news clips about how to de-stress and make more time for friends and family. Statistics show that 45% of Americans actually set new year’s resolutions (Anderson, 2015) but only 8% actually keep them (Fottrell, 2016). Those that do set new year’s resolutions, 44% said that health and fitness was the number one resolution for them in the new year (Fottrell, 2016).

The weight loss industry is valued at $20 billon (ABC News, 2012). It is estimated that consumers that make new year’s resolutions have around $5.6 billion to spend on those resolutions (Klara, 2013). For those marketing the health and fitness products and services, reaching this audience to generate demand could be very lucrative. Statistics show that 77% of consumers looking to get healthy start their journey with an Internet search (Pruitt, 2013). A quick Google search of the term ‘diet’ resulted in over 445 million results.

By now, most of us have heard or watch Oprah’s commercials on TV for Weight Watchers Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 9.04.38 PM(Disclaimer- I AM an Oprah fan). Not only has she become their spokesperson and newest ‘loser’ (of weight that is!) for Weight Watchers but she also has a seat at the table and bought 10% of the business (Schultz, 2015). A commercial is currently airing that has her raving about how she eats bread every day on the plan (Pesce, 2016). A subsequent tweet about she ate bread and lost weight, broadcast to over 31 million Twitter followers, generated Oprah over $12.5 million on one tweet (Pesce, 2016). That’s an impressive feat and a nicely integrated campaign.

Did you make a new year’s resolution? Are you as sick of the weight loss commercials as I am?


ABC News. (2012). 100 Million dieters, $20 billion: The weight-loss industry by the numbers. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/100-million-dieters-20-billion-weight-loss-industry/story?id=16297197

Anderson, N. (2015). Six ways to make your new years resolutions stick in 2016. Forbes. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyanderson/2015/12/26/six-ways-to-make-your-new-years-resolutions-stick-in-2016/#712a18021f90

Fottrell, Q. (2016). 5 People getting rich off your new years resolutions. Market Watch. Retrieved from:http://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-people-getting-rich-off-your-new-years-resolutions-2014-12-30

Klara, R. (2013). How much are new year’s resolutions worth? Answer: They’re big business for brands. Advertising Age. Retrieved from: http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/how-much-are-new-years-resolutions-worth-146478

Pruitt. (2013). Tips for health and wellness industry advertisers: Prepare now for new years resolution customers. Retrieved from: http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/28025/tips-for-health-and-wellness-industry-advertisers-prepare-now-for-new-years-resolution-customers

Schultz, E. J. (2015). Coming soon to Weight Watchers ads: Oprah. Advertising Age. Retrieved from: http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/coming-weight-watchers-ads-oprah/301241/


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6 Responses to Wait… loss? Or Weight Loss: A New Year’s Resolution

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Stephanie, I really enjoyed your post. It’s a very relevant subject and it’s a huge craze, especially in America.

    I have noticed SO many people are health crazed-obsessive! Of course, it’s great to be healthy and take care of ourselves. What I am speaking to is the people that are obsessed. There is something in life called (wait for it, wait for it..) B A L A N C E.

    Instead of hitting up the latest fad diet, how about everyone incorporates balance in their life. True success comes when we make healthy choices a lifestyle instead of a fad. I have so many “friends” (or should I say, people I went to high school with) that are obsessed with going to the gym and they’re there every waking hour, it’s sad to see how much they’re missing out on their kids lives. I have heard them say, “I can’t eat this or I’ll get fat”. Their kids are hearing this, so from a very young age, they know what that is and they are calling people who are bigger than them fat. It’s really sad… but again, it’s so important to be healthy and exercise, but there is that balance and we have to think about what we say and do and what kind of impact that can have on our kids. I try to go to the gym everyday. I do it because it makes me feel good and it helps me burn off some stress. But the key is to remember that balance.

    I love Europe (and really any other part of the world besides America) because I feel like they have balance over there, especially with their diets. Their “large” drink is the equivalent to an American’s small. You go to a restaurant and if you order a soda, you get one bottle of it, no refills. I love that! Their portions may be seen by Americans as “small”, but in actuality they are NORMAL! Most food I have eaten in Europe is not processed. Also, they walk everywhere! Anytime I’ve asked a foreign friend what was the biggest difference about America vs. their homeland, it never fails… it’s always about the food. Whether it’s about too many fast food joints, the huge portions; one friend saw a Big Gulp and thought it was a pitcher for multiple people but after she found out it was for ONE person she was absolutely mortified. This same person also said she had only eaten out once in her 26 years of life before she moved to America. CRAZY to think since we live in a society where there is food everywhere/anywhere.

    Moral of the story (my stories, rants, ramblings) is balance. So much success can be found in balance and consistency!

    Thanks for your post 🙂

  2. Kimberly says:

    I have to admit that I ‘sort of’ made a weight loss and exercise New Year’s resolution. For me, I indulged all holiday season and I needed something to motivate me back into my routine of healthy eating and working out. Starting fresh with the New Year was a nice way to do it. With that said, I can’t stand all the New Year’s resolution talk. It’s all over the news and in the office, and I feel like it’s the same talk every year.

  3. zihuili says:

    Hi Stephanie, I enjoyed reading your post. I am also not someone who actually makes new year resolutions. I mean, I make them, but then I give up after a couple weeks, especially when it comes to fitness and weight-loss practice. I always felt it is too ambitious to have new year resolutions, it is supposed to be valid for the entire year, right? Who would do something that they were so reluctant to do before, for the entire year?
    I hate those weight loss advertisement on website. Sometime when browsing on Facebook, a post would show up and the title would have some mysterious nature involving certain celebrity figure. When I click it, it directs me to some random website with make-up story about how this celebrity lost so many weight by consuming certain pills. The advertise was so ill-made and I wonder if people actually believe in this. It might be useful to attract people’s attention by integrate the ad into a Facebook post, but would it actually have effective impact on people’s willingness to try the product? Also, would this kind of fake advertisement get into trouble when celebrity decides to take actions against it?

  4. Joy says:

    I ALWAYS avoid the gym the first two weeks of the new year. All those “resolution-ites” hog the machines and quite frankly, irritate me with their over-zealous “get in shape” attitudes. But… in a couple of weeks it all slows down and I can get back on my favorite weapon of fat destruction with no hassle.
    Speaking of fat destruction–I’ve followed Oprah’s very public struggle with weight for years. Who can forget the show where she rolled out a radio flyer filled with a bunch of “fat” to represent her near overnight weight loss success?? I find it incredibly interesting that she is now backing Weight Watchers. The ads are compelling too. They make me believe that Oprah is talking to me, her friend, over a cup of coffee. They exude sincerity, and a feeling of “we’re in this together”… I can’t help but applaud whomever at Weight Watchers who was behind this celebrity endorsement. If you have Oprah on your side, you simply can’t (or maybe, in this case, you absolutely can?) lose.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Weight Watchers has always been a fairly respectable weight loss brand. Their plan encourages subscribers to lose weight in a balanced way that cultivates lifestyle change. As you observed, Oprah Winfrey is a very powerful ally for Weight Watchers, and she lends them a new elevated sense of credibility. Considering that Oprah owns 10% ownership in the company conveys that she has a stake in the brand and likely did her homework before buying into it. Because that “homework” ultimately affected Winfrey’s own health and wellness further speaks to the success of the brand. It’s far more of an investment than buying partial ownership in a material brand like shoes or home goods. This is more than celebrity endorsement – this is more like celebrity buy in! And I think it can be far more motivating than an endorsement.

  6. Rhonda says:

    Great article on weight loss! Yes, I am one of those consumers that loves to exercise but has a hard time starting and sticking to a new program. I can see why gyms and weight loss programs are big business in the United States. I myself started a new kickboxing class this year and I enjoy it tremendously, until I had to travel out of town for work. Now I am paying for a membership that I haven’t used in two months. I need motivation…….how close is the new year???