Food-related advertising that does and doesn’t work | WW, OzHarvest

The worst rebrand I’ve ever seen happened years ago, in 2018, but I only saw it last year, and this post sat in my drafts for 6 months. Let’s talk about what happened when Weight Watchers decided they needed to make themselves cool again!

Why the Weight Watchers rebrand just doesn’t work

Weight Watchers reckons their new brand, WW, stands for ‘Wellness that Works’.

Umm, sure.

The new Weight Watchers packaging for one of their frozen meals, a mushroom & pumpkin risotto, features a big "WW"
The new Weight Watchers packaging for one of their frozen meals, a mushroom & pumpkin risotto, features a big “WW”.

Nobody is fooled — their product is still diet food.

And while the packaging looks fine, the concept is flawed.

Say it out loud with me.

WW.

“Double you, double you.”

WTF?

I laughed sooo hard looking at their new packaging, and realising what they’d done.

A diet food company that’s brand literally says it will double you?

What genius thought that was a good idea?

As if we didn’t have enough reasons to hate diet culture already…

The latest round of OzHarvest ads I saw in the Brisbane CBD in 2021 were amazing. They were eye-catching and thought-provoking.

2021 ad for OzHarvest shows a cauliflower and cloud of greenhouse gases, along with the slogan "wasting food is worse than flying".
The 2021 ads for OzHarvest featured the slogan “wasting food is worse than flying”.

The ad I’ve highlighted here is OzHarvest’s 2021 ad, which I used to walk past every day on my way home from work (when we were — oh so briefly — allowed back into the office). It shows a cauliflower and cloud of greenhouse gases, along with the slogan “wasting food is worse than flying”.

The eye-catching bright yellow colour, combined with the thought-provoking message, really caught my attention, and I saw other passers-by staring at the sign for a long time, as well.

It works for multiple reasons.

It’s the cognitive dissonance of thinking, “Me throwing out that rotten zucchini that I forgot was in the vegetable drawer of my fridge … that was worse than flying overseas? Really? But I pride myself on my eco-conscious behaviours!”

It’s memorable, mainly because it’s so hard to believe. I will never forget this ad that said wasting food causes more greenhouse gases than an airplane flight.

And although I didn’t immediately remember which brand had posted the ad (the #1 test for any advertising in my opinion – brand recall), I was able to look it up so easily on Google using the slogan, which was unforgettable.

Any more thoughts about why this advertising works? Let me know in the comments!

(C) TJ Withers-Ryan 2022. Credit me when sharing.

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