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"Weight Watchers" Felt Too '90s — So the Company Is Changing Its Name to This
Weight Watchers is showing it can embrace a more holistic modern philosophy.
Remember Snackwell's, those great relics of an ancient (1990s) diet philosophy? The cookies are best known for being fat free and for that reason were marketed by then-owner Nabisco as "healthy" snacks, given the decade's fad interest in such nutrition content ratios.
Now, the idea sounds dated to many, as a narrow-minded, naive approach to so-called "health." (And yes, we now realize that Snackwell's and their ilk may just have proliferated the obesity epidemic.) Similarly dated to many ears is the name "Weight Watchers," a company whose purpose has been to help people shed pounds as their main goal. To modern ears, that idea in a vaccum sounds pretty backward; these days, the goal (so people are comfortable admitting) is about overall health and wellness — not just a number on a scale.
And for that reason, Weight Watchers (founded in 1963) announced it will be changing its name — to, simply, WW. The idea is to move away from an association with an old cultural value system that prized losing weight for its own sake — without concern for overall health and wellness.
In a company statement cited by CNN, C.E.O. Mindy Grossman said that the company remains, "committed to always being the best weight management program on the planet," but that it also wants to help people be healthier, commit to exercise, and focus on positivity.
Oprah Winfrey, who owns more than 8 percent stake in the company and is a member of its board added, "The role WW can play in people's lives goes far beyond a number on the scale. As Weight Watchers becomes WW, I believe we will continue to inspire people not only to eat well, but to move more, connect with others and continue to experience the joys of a healthy life."
Also meant to help bring the company into the modern age is WW's new partnerships with such names as Kevin Smith, DJ Khaled and Chef Eric Greenspan as "ambassadors."
People seem to be into the new concept: Shares of WW rose more than 4 percent after the news. And CNN notes the stock is up 65 percent this year — and up a whopping tenfold since Oprah got on board about three years ago.