- Weight Watchers International has announced that recording artist and producer DJ Khaled will be its social media ambassador for 2018, according to a press release. DJ Khaled is also a Weight Watchers member.
- The new social media ambassador will document his experiences and weight loss journey using the new WW Freestyle program on Snapchat as @djkhaled305, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The messaging will focus on the freedom Weight Watchers gives him to make healthy choices while leading a busy lifestyle.
- DJ Khaled will use a Weight Watchers coach and the company’s mobile app to follow WW Freestyle, which launched in December 2017 with a campaign featuring Oprah Winfrey. The new program is an extension of Weight Watchers’ SmartPoints system, which has expanded its zero-points foods beyond only fruits and vegetables.
The celebrity endorsement is a tried-and-true strategy that marketers have used for generations to connect with customers. Weight Watchers’ latest partnership with DJ Khaled follows the weight-loss business' tie-ups with other with celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson and Jessica Simpson.
Weight Watchers is likely banking on DJ Khaled's popularity on social media — he has 8.9 million followers on Instagram alone — to get the brand in front of new potential customers. The news comes as the company is trying to reposition itself as a wellness lifestyle brand appealing to younger consumers. So far, the repositioning appears to be working, with the company beating sales expectations throughout 2017.
However, leaning on celebrities could prove to be a tough road if the company is looking to make waves with the millennial crowd. Research by Roth Capital Partners found that celebrity endorsements are not the best way for brands to reach millennials, with 78% saying they either dislike celebrity endorsements or are ambivalent about them. In another survey of U.S. adults by Collective Bias, only 22.1% said they were more willing to make a purchase from an unfamiliar brand based on a celebrity endorsement.
Digital influencers are gaining ground as the personality of choice among brands. In 2017, 8% of brands used celebrities for long-term contracts, down from 10% in 2016, the Age of Influence report, conducted by Celebrity Intelligence, found. Sixty-one percent of marketers reported working with digital influencers in the past year, with 57% reporting working with musicians.
Campaign-specific contracts with celebrities have become a more popular strategy, with about one-third of those in the Celebrity Intelligence survey saying it is their preferred way to work with celebrities. In these instances, a celebrity’s social media following, individual audience and engagement level are what makes them most attractive to marketers.
With the increase of social media ambassadors and influencers, the Federal Trade Commission recently updated its endorsement guidelines to cover adding clear labels to endorsements and outlines the subtle differences between “ambassador” and “sponsor.” The update came after the FTC recently settled its first complaint against two social media influencers and the connection they had to the brand they were endorsing.