A few years ago, weight loss ads were dominated by stars from the ’70s and ’80s who had put on a few pounds since they were in their prime, including Kirstie Alley, Valerie Bertinelli, and Marie Osmond. However, there’s a new trend emerging among companies in the diet business: the singing, skinny pop star spokeswoman.
The latest is Janet Jackson, who unveiled a trimmer figure today in her new commercials for NutriSystem:
At one time a celebrity of Jackson’s status would be considered too famous to talk about their weight troubles in a TV ad, but now weight loss companies are practically required to sign an A-list singer. It started with Weight Watchers spokeswoman Jennifer Hudson, who appears here in a creepy duet with her bigger self.
Jenny ads featuring Mariah Carey began running in the fall after the icon lost 30 pounds of baby weight on the plan.
Plus, Jessica Simpson has had her deal to shill for Weight Watchers inked since December, though she still hasn’t given birth.
It’s weird enough that Simpson will have to start losing weight like it’s her job (because it pretty much is) shortly after he baby is born, but there’s another problem with using mega-stars in diet ads. Like Jennifer Hudson before her, Janet Jackson declares in her ad, “This is what success looks like.” Considering that Hudson won an Oscar while she was wearing plus sizes and Jackson is already one of the most popular entertainers of all time, it’s a weird message to send about what constitutes “success.”
It’s a bit surprising that weight loss companies have found so many singers willing to publicly slim down, since the music world tends to be less body conscious (well, compared to the rest of the entertainment industry). Stars from Adele to Aretha Franklin have proven that you don’t have to be pin thin to put on a show stopping number — but apparently you do need a pop star if you want to run a successful weight loss ad campaign.