Last night on my commute home from work I heard some interesting news that stopped me in my tracks. At first I thought it was a bad April Fool’s Joke but as it turns out this is serious, money-making business.
According to various reports Weight Watchers is re-branding themselves as a healthcare company. It seems to be a multifaceted approach.
On the one hand, it is clear that this is a strategic move to remain competitive in the face of all of the free calorie counting and weight loss apps on the market. Weight Watchers is shifting consumer’s focus more toward the long term capacity of the program and helping with not only weight loss, but maintenance.
Additionally, they are scaling up and looking toward healthcare providers to partner with.
‘”We are viewing ourselves more and more as a health-care company,” Weight Watchers International CEO David Kirchhoff said recently during a panel discussion on a study called “The Truth About Wellness,” by McCann, the marketer’s ad agency. As health care moves toward more emphasis on preventative care, “we are positioning ourselves to be good community-based partners,” he said.’ (source)
I find this move compelling. It’s clear the face of the weight loss industry is changing. I’m proof positive of that. I went from paying $40 a month of Weight Watchers for over a year to counting calories for free on My Fitness Pal. Like most people, I don’t have a lot of money left to burn at the end of the month. So why pay for something when I can use something similar for free?
I know there is a loyal following of Weight Watchers out there. And I get it. If the program is right for you it can absolutely work and change your life. That said, I personally believe it is a bit of a stretch to call Weight Watchers a healthcare company. I’m not sure I will be able to see it as anything beside a weight loss program.
Question: Do you think Weight Watchers can successfully market themselves as a healthcare company? Would you trust a healthcare provider that recommended this program to you?