Gasteyer to star in Weight Watchers new campaign

Analyst says Gasteyer's ad campaign may renew interest in Weight Watchers brand

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- An analyst said Thursday that Weight Watchers' new spokeswoman, Ana Gasteyer, may help to renew interest in the brand during its spring advertising campaign.

Weight Watchers International Inc. said Thursday that Gasteyer, who used to be on "Saturday Night Live" and is now featured on "Suburgatory," has been sharing her thoughts about Weight Watchers Online with her Twitter followers. She uses the Weight Watchers 360 degrees program, which has a mobile app that lets members track their food choices.

The new spring ad campaign is set to launch on Sunday.

Kurt Frederick of Wedbush said in a client note that Weight Watchers' marketing campaign for the current diet season was initially supposed to feature Jessica Simpson, but that the weight management services company had to shift gears once Simpson announced she was pregnant again. Frederick said that the revised plans may have contributed to Weight Watchers sluggish start to the year.

In February Weight Watchers warned investors that fewer people were signing up for its weight loss programs in 2013 than anticipated. The company's CEO David Kirchhoff said at that time that its marketing had not been as effective as it had hoped for, citing a tough economy and stiffer competition.

Frederick reaffirmed a "Neutral" rating and $42 price target.

Shares of Weight Watchers added 12 cents to $42.22 in afternoon trading. The stock is down nearly 20 percent in the year to date.

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