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Diet Spokespeople: Jenny McCarthy, Queen Latifah, Dan Marino, and Everyone In Between

Diet Spokespeople: Jenny McCarthy, Queen Latifah, Dan Marino, and Everyone In Between

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With the never-ending parade of images of thin celebrities on television, in movies, on magazine covers, and everywhere on the Internet, it is little wonder that so many Americans want similar body shapes. To capitalize on this, many weight loss companies and diet products have turned to celebrity endorsements. In recent years, celebrities like Jenny McCarthy, Queen Latifah, Whoopi Goldberg, Dan Marino, Anna Nicole Smith, and Don Shula have all promoted various weight loss systems that worked for them.

Celebrities and the Diet Plans They Promote

While some weight loss plans, like the Zone® Diet, have become popular through books, websites, and word of mouth, others have become almost synonymous with their celebrity endorsers. Weight Watchers®, NutriSystem®, Slim-Fast®, and other major players in the weight loss market have a history of featuring celebrity spokespeople for their diet or weight loss product.

NutriSystem®

Recently named by Fortune magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in 2007, NutriSystem® offers a weight loss program that is dependent on customers purchasing pre-packaged food through a website. Phone consultations with a weight loss counselor are available. Unlike most other mainstream diet plans, which tend to focus on women, NutriSystem® has launched an advertising campaign that seems to be targeting the male audience by featuring former NFL players and coaches. The weight loss company has not abandoned their female client base, however; their most-recent celebrity spokesperson is Tori Spelling.

Past and present celebrity spokespeople for NutriSystem® include:

  • Tori Spelling (actress)
  • Dan Marino (sports commentator, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback)
  • Don Shula (former NFL coach)
  • Steve Beuerlein (former NFL quarterback)
  • Zora Andrich (television personality, Joe Millionaire winner)

 

Jenny Craig®

Like NutriSystem®, Jenny Craig® sells prepackaged food. However, although Jenny Craig® offers an online program, it is better known for the program offered at its weight loss centers, where clients meet weekly with a weight loss counselor. Jenny Craig® gets its spokespeople more involved in its promotional campaigns than most other weight loss companies; in addition to appearing in commercials, celebrity endorsers, like new spokesperson Queen Latifah, also contribute blogs to the official Jenny Craig® website.

Past and present celebrity spokespeople for Jenny Craig® include:

  • Queen Latifah   (rapper, singer, actress)
  • Valerie Bertinelli (actress)
  • Kirstie Alley (actress)
  • Monica Lewinsky (former White House intern, entrepreneur)
  • Kimberly Locke (singer, former American Idol contestant)

Weight Watchers®

Named by the Diet Channel as the best diet of 2007, Weight Watchers® began in 1960 and has evolved over the years. Known for its impressive record of long-term successes, Weight Watchers® uses celebrity spokespeople, but not to the extent that Jenny Craig® does. In fact, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is the only celebrity listed on the company's web page of success stories ... and she listed at the bottom of the page. Fergie's presence on the site, however, highlights the commitment of the Weight Watchers® program to the long-term success of its clients. Having reached her weight loss goal in 1997, the Duchess of York is still maintaining her healthy weight.

Past and present celebrity spokespeople for Weight Watchers® include:

  • Jenny McCarthy (model, comedian, actress, author)
  • Sarah Ferguson, aka Fergie (Duchess of York)
  • Lynn Redgrave (actress)

Slim-Fast®

Slim-Fast® is more of a product line than the above mentioned programs. However, the company has used its website to expand its reach. With a support-group atmosphere provided through blogs, online forums, and other online tools, including email access to nutritionists and food diaries, Slim-Fast® attempts to create more personalized programs. Like NutriSystem®, Slim-Fast® has also tried to appeal to the male audience by enlisting Tommy Lasorda to endorse its products. In an interesting twist, the company's new spokesperson, Rachel Hunter, reportedly admitted that she had never used the product, although Slim-Fast® claims she will begin to work it into her life.

Past and present celebrity spokespeople for Slim-Fast® include:

  • Rachel Hunter (actress, model)
  • Tommy Lasorda (former Major League Baseball pitcher, former MLB manager)          
  • Shari Belafonte (actress, model, writer, singer)
  • Kathie Lee Gifford (actress, singer-songwriter, playwright, former co-host of Live with Regis and Kathie Lee)
  • Whoopi Goldberg (The View moderator, actress, comedian, author)
  • Ann Jillian (actress)

TrimSpa®

Even weight loss drugs have turned to celebrity endorsers. The most famous occurrence of this is the affiliation of TrimSpa® with the late Anna Nicole Smith as their spokesperson. In an extreme case of celebrity endorsement backfiring, Smith's premature death led to the safety of TrimSpa® being heavily scrutinized.

Celebrity Life versus Real Life

Is it realistic for people to believe that they can have a celeb's body just by following the diet program that he or she promotes? Not necessarily. Most ads for weight loss programs are accompanied by the disclaimer, "Results not typical." in many cases, celebrities have not only the added incentive of being paid to loss weight, but also the luxury of having personal trainers, private chefs, personal assistants, and nutritionists to help them reach their goals. Without such luxuries at their disposal, many people do not have the same success as these paid spokespeople.

The Bottom Line on Celebrity Diet Endorsements

Just because you don't have the resources of a celebrity, you shouldn't assume that you will fail at a diet or weight loss program. However, don't be lured into a specific program by the face of a celebrity. Be sure to review the program to determine whether it will fit with your lifestyle and budget.

You might believe that Dan Marino is the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, or you might have every album that Queen Latifah ever made. However, these should not be the reasons you select a weight loss program. Research the various weight loss plans and talk to your doctor about which of those diets will work best for you.

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