Last week I watched an interesting story on 20/20 called “Losing It: The Big Fat Trap”, which really shocked me on how much these weight loss companies and celebrities profit by endorsing their product. We’ve seen them all: Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Janet Jackson and the list goes on. All of these celebrities have been sponsors for Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig or NutriSystem or as I like to call them, “The Three Heavyweights”. Jenny Craig’s profits for 2011 were $450 million, NutriSystem brought in $500 million and Weight Watchers took the cake with over $1.2 billion in profits. The motivations for these celebrities to endorse these weight loss services are two-fold: they lose weight and rack in some major dollar, dollar bills, y’all.
We all saw the weight loss struggles of Kirstie Alley as she undertook the goal to lose weight after partnering with Jenny Craig. She did a big reveal on the Oprah show of her new bikini body and proved to all women that they could lose weight too. What she forgot to mention is that unlike most women, she was receiving a paycheck that totaled $33,000 per pound loss, according to author Jo Piazza on his book, Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money. Piazza states that on average, celebrities will make $33,000 per pound loss when endorsing weight loss programs. Now, that’s quite an incentive to reach your goal weight. Even though Kirstie gained it back within a couple of years, she was then able to use her fame as a yo-yo dieter to produce her own reality show, “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” and create her own organic weight loss program line, “Organic Liaison”. So even though she isn’t getting Jenny Craig money any longer, she was able to establish herself so that the profits keep rolling in.
If $33,000 isn’t enough to get you moving, let’s discuss Valerie Bertinelli. Bertinelli was a successful child star and known as being the wife to Eddie Van Halen. She was also known for her yo-yo weight. After joining Jenny Craig, Bertinelli loss a substantial amount of weight and gained quite a hefty sum in her bank account. Piazza states that it has been calculated that Bertinelli lost approximately 47 pounds, which has been calculated as being paid $60,000 per pound loss! Is that enough willpower for you to lose weight?
Now, The Heavyweights are targeting celebrities who are trying to lose the baby weight after pregnancy. Jenny Craig was able to lock in pop star Mariah Carey after she has her twins, Monroe and Morocco. Carey loss an estimated 30 pounds in three months after joining Jenny Craig. However, it’s Weight Watchers that was able to partner with Jessica Simpson, who gained 50 pounds during her pregnancy. Simpson signed a deal for $3 million dollars to endorse Weight Watchers which will be the largest weight loss endorsement in history. With that kind of gold at the end of the rainbow, I’m sure Jessica will reach her goal and then some!
With these types of endorsements, I would gain weight just to be paid to lose! However, it does put a lot into perspective. Are these celebrities making their health a top priority or their wallet?