Jenny Craig, Inc.: Kirstie Alley campaign

Rayna Bailey


With 64 percent of American adults considered overweight or obese in 2004, weight loss was big business in the United States. An estimated 44 percent of women and 29 percent of men were trying to lose weight in 2004, and they were spending about $44 billion on diet programs. That amount was expected to increase steadily to nearly $48 billion by 2006. As the number of overweight people looking for a magic bullet for weight loss grew, so did fad programs promising to make the task of dieting easier. Diet crazes such as the Atkins low-carbohydrate diet plan began winning consumers away from traditional programs, such as Jenny Craig, that took a conservative approach to dieting. By 2004 the number of people signing on with Jenny Craig weight-management centers was stagnating.

To win back customers, in 2004 Jenny Craig made two changes: it added to its roster a new diet program that offered clients more flexibility than its original plans, and it signed on J. Walter Thompson New York as its advertising agency, replacing its former agency, Johnson/Ukropina of Irvine, California. The first task for J. Walter Thompson was to create an advertising campaign supporting Jenny Craig's new diet program, Jenny YourStyle. Although the campaign began in September 2004, it was replaced just months later, in January 2005, with a new set of advertisements that featured actress/comedian Kirstie Alley as its celebrity spokeswoman. No budget for the new campaign was available, but according to a report in the New York Times, the preceding campaign, "Jenny YourStyle," cost $30 million.