Sunday, November 17, 2013

We are Real! Poignant Endorsement for our weight loss/health gain program

This made me tear up ... I meet people like this all the time! Enjoy!!

Poignant Endorsements in Weight-Loss Campaign

The three largest weight loss companies offer contrasting approaches to slimming down, but when it comes to marketing, they are identical in one way: they all hire celebrity endorsers.
In a commercial for Medifast, Kimberley Vandlen speaks to herself after she lost 50 pounds. “You look beautiful, you do,” says Ms. Vandlen, as she tries not to cry.

The current roster of famous pound-shedders includes Jennifer Hudson for Weight Watchers, Marie Osmond for Nutrisystem and Valerie Bertinelli for Jenny Craig.
Now another weight loss company, Medifast, is introducing an advertising campaign that eschews celebrities.
A new commercial opens on a woman named Kimberley Vandlen, who is overweight, standing in a kitchen speaking to a woman whose back is to the camera.
“You look beautiful, you do,” says Ms. Vandlen, choking back tears. “You look so beautiful.”
After text flashes on the screen that says, “Kimberley discusses weight loss,” the camera shifts to face the other woman, and new text appears on the screen: “With herself.”
That woman, it turns out, is also Ms. Vandlen, but almost 50 pounds lighter — and radiant. Voice quavering, the thinner Ms. Vandlen says, “This is all you.”
Her two versions, thanks to crafty editing, face each other in the same frame and appear to converse in real time.
Heavier Ms. Vandlen: “I never thought I could look like that. Thank you.”
Thinner Ms. Vandlen: “Thank you for wanting it.”
The commercial, which closes with the tagline, “Become yourself,” is by Solve, an independent advertising and branding agency in Minneapolis. It will be introduced on television and online on Jan. 1, along with spots featuring two other Medifast dieters — another woman and a man — conversing with thinner versions of themselves.
Aimed primarily at women aged 35 to 64, the commercials will run widely on networks including A&E, Lifetime and the Food Network. Print ads will appear in publications including People, Better Homes & Gardens and Cooking Light.
“We just feel like people don’t connect as much with celebrities,” said Brian Kagen, chief marketing officer of Medifast. “Because they know that perhaps the celebrities also may have had a personal trainer or a personal chef, which normal people don’t have.”
Medifast, which declined to reveal how much it would spend on the campaign, spent $25.5 million on advertising in the first nine months of 2012, behind Jenny Craig, with $39.5 million; Weight Watchers, with $200 million; and Nutrisystem, with $208.4 million, according Kantar Media, which is owned by WPP.
The new campaign was set in motion in the fall of 2011, when the agency, with the help of a casting director who specializes in finding nonactors for commercials, began seeking consumers who wanted to lose weight.
(Ms. Vandlen has in the past auditioned for commercials, but had never been cast in one, and her Medifast spots, like others in the campaign, were unscripted.)
Along with compensation, the brand offered free Medifast portion-controlled food products, which are integral to the program, along with the telephone and online consultations with dietitians and nutritionists available to typical Medifast customers.
Four people were selected, and were first filmed before they started the Medifast diet at a private home in Studio City, Calif., in January 2012. All were filmed speaking to a Medifast nutritionist, and were directed to converse with the nutritionist as if they were speaking with their future, thinner selves.
Of the four subjects, the three that lost the most weight were called back to the same house in September. Right before filming began, each was for the first time shown footage from the interview recorded in January.
“They put the computer in front of me, and I said, ‘I can’t believe you’re going to do that,’ ” Ms. Vandlen said in a recent interview, recalling seeing the footage of her prediet self.
“I broke down in tears,” she said, “because I remember ‘that’ girl, and I remember how badly she was feeling and not wanting to get up from the couch or play with my daughter because my knees would ache or ankles would ache.”

When the cameras began rolling, she and the nutritionist swapped places, and this time the nutritionist fed Ms. Vandlen her own words back to her so that she was, effectively, having a conversation with her heavier self.
All of the commercials were shot and edited to leave no trace of the nutritionist, only the dieter at different weights.
“Some of it was hard to watch,” said John Colasanti, the chief executive of Solve, about being on the set. “To watch these people bare their souls, you felt like kind of a voyeur.”
Mr. Colasanti added that, while the weight loss was certainly evident in the commercials, the dieters were chosen based on their passion for trimming down for health and emotional reasons beyond vanity.
“To think about weight loss as something that’s going to be added to your life rather than deducted from it was sort of the germ of the idea,” Mr. Colasanti said. “It isn’t what you lose, it’s what you gain.”
Jay Jacobs, who lost 181 pounds competing on the 11th season of “The Biggest Loser,” and who is also a managing partner of the Shurn Group, a wellness branding firm, reviewed the new Medifast commercials and was impressed.
“I think they’re brilliant because they feel authentic,” Mr. Jacobs said. “They didn’t feel staged, they didn’t feel trite — they were all very believable, and that’s what’s going to make them resonate with people.”
John LaRosa, research director of Marketdata Enterprises, a market research company in Tampa, Fla., lauded Medifast for ignoring what he called the “follow the leader” mentality of celebrity marketing by weight loss companies.
Mr. LaRosa reviewed the new campaign, which he called clever.
“It’s going to be a campaign that gets some notice and gains some traction,” Mr. LaRosa said of the new Medifast commercials. “And it cost them a hell of a lot less because they don’t have to pay celebrities millions of dollars.”  From the New York Times, Dec 19th

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