Brand: ‘Approved by Life’
Client: Weight Watchers
Strategy/media agency: Tongue
Creative agency: BMF


Weight Watchers is the leader in the commercial weight loss industry with more than 40 years’ experience in Australia and New Zealand. The brand’s strength comes from its assertion of a scientifically proven and effective program for those looking to lose weight, with thousands of success stories under its belt.

Weight Watchers engaged digital agency Tongue to develop a comprehensive digital campaign to launch its new ‘Approved by Life’ brand platform. The campaign was designed to reassure consumers that the Weight Watchers program can fit easily into their lives without eliminating the foods or celebration events that they love… including chocolate.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of Australia approached Tongue and Weight Watchers about collaborating to evaluate the impact of combining video and display advertising during the ‘Approved by Life’ campaign. As part of its commitment to building a body of research into online advertising effectiveness, the IAB had commissioned Dynamic Logic to undertake an AdIndex online advertising effectiveness study in this field.

Video inventory was planned by Tongue and donated by online publisher members of the IAB to supplement existing standard display and performance elements of the Weight Watchers digital campaign, as well as significant offline activity.


The objectives of the Weight Watchers ‘Approved by Life’ campaign goals were to:

  • launch the new brand platform ‘Approved by Life’ to women open to weight loss and management plans
  • increase top of mind Weight Watchers awareness within the category
  • enhance association of ‘Approved by Life’ with Weight Watchers, and
  • drive acquisition through effective targeting and re-messaging.

The IAB research objects on the Weight Watchers digital campaign were to:

  • measure the online campaign in its ability to build ‘Approved by Life’ association with Weight Watchers and drive consideration for the brand
  • understand the effect of online video advertising on the key metrics of brand awareness, message association, brand favourability and purchasing intent toward program channels, and
  • understand the effect on these key metrics of using online video and standard display advertising together.



Weight Watchers launched the new brand platform ‘Approved by Life’ to women open to diet, weight loss and weight management plans.

To build the brand association between Weight Watchers and ‘Approved by Life’, Tongue developed a media plan employing both standard display and video online advertising across a range of sites.

Standard display advertising refers to gif, jpg, simple Flash and rich media advertising without video. Online video advertising refers to both pre-roll and in-banner video advertising placements.

Publishers contributing video inventory for the campaign included ninemsn, SheSpot, Sensis MediaSmart, Fairfax Digital, Yahoo!7, News Digital Media and Multi Channel Network.

The research undertaken by Dynamic Logic on behalf of the IAB comprised an AdIndex study to measure advertising effectiveness and the comparison of campaign results with Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms (the largest database of online brand building campaigns in the world).


Weight Watchers launched a new brand platform called ‘Approved by Life’ on 28 December 2009, with creative featuring watercolours and whimsical sketches showing scenes from everyday life. Each online advertisement invited viewers to click through to the Weight Watchers site, with the online media campaign featuring a combination of different formats.

The campaign launched with rich media homepage buyouts on high traffic portals and had a strong backbone of both performance and contextual relevant placements, all standard Flash files. With video, it used a combination of sliding, streaming ‘MREC’ and pre-roll. In total, Weight Watchers had four different messages all reinforcing ‘Approved by Life’.

The Dynamic Logic AdIndex study was conducted over a 10-week period from December 2009 to February 2010. It was designed to isolate the impact of the online campaign and measure its contribution to brand awareness, message association, brand favourability and purchase intent.

The AdIndex used a control-exposed methodology that measures the branding value of online ad campaigns as they run live across a site or set of sites. Two groups are simultaneously sampled and their responses compared – those who have seen the advertisements (exposed) and those who have not (control).

A total of 2909 people were recruited for the survey as either control or exposed participants. Of the exposed sample of 1860 people, 62% were women. The study exposed 50% of exposed respondents to standard display advertising, 23% to online video advertising and the remaining 27% to a combination of online video and standard display advertising.


The Weight Watchers ‘Approved by Life’ online campaign succeeded in building key brand metrics and communicating brand attributes. According to Dynamic Logic, the campaign resulted in a 20% increase in unaided awareness and a 12% increase in brand favourability for the brand.

The campaign also demonstrated the ability of online video advertising to impact brand metrics at much lower frequencies than standard display advertising. A 51% increase in unaided brand awareness was visible at just two exposures to the video advertisements within this campaign.

This is consistent with Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms database, which shows video advertising achieves greater cut-through at a single exposure than rich media advertising.

The Weight Watchers campaign achieved the best results, however, when a combination of standard display and video advertising was used, with unaided brand awareness rising by 38%, compared with a 10% increase for those exposed to standard display only and 20% increase for online video advertising only.

Commenting on the research, Dynamic Logic’s Mark Henning says, “The Weight Watchers campaign demonstrates the effectiveness of online advertising and the power of online video in influencing brand attitudes and perceptions. Results consistent with our MarketNorms database point towards a strategy of starting an online campaign with high impact video for reach and following with standard display ads to build frequency as a strong approach for building brands online.”

Weight Watchers online marketing manager, Reichel Cheslett, indicates that in an environment where focus is typically applied to direct response placements achieving acquisition goals, the study allows marketers and advertisers to understand drivers of longer tail response, and apply these learnings to future planning.

“Applying brand-based metrics, as opposed to acquisition metrics, to display has allowed us to gain insights into online consumer purchasing consideration and intent. We continue working to position Weight Watchers as a category leader in the digital advertising space. This test has been invaluable to us in understanding how to shift perceptions from a traditional marketing campaign channel approach into a broader, more effective strategy,” Cheslett explains.