'Old' And 'New' Selves Converse In Medifast Ads

Medifast-BGetting noticed amid the deluge of weight-loss ads at the start of each new year is tough, but Medifast and its agency, Minneapolis-based Solve, believe they’ve come up with an approach that’s hard to ignore.

On Jan. 1, Medifast launched a national TV campaign in which the overweight and now-slender versions of weight-losers are shown conversing with each other. 

To create the effect, Solve worked with director John Haagen of New York-based Assembly Films. Each of the three individuals featured in three different spots was filmed in Los Angeles in January 2012, then shot again at the same location in September, after eight months on the Medifast weight-loss program. 

Matching the scenes and dialogue to create a believable conversation video was “a painstaking effort,” notes Hans Hansen, Solve creative director.

The approach was designed to enable the brand to stand out from the celebrity endorsement and “vanity appeals” used by the three major weight-loss programs, and go beyond the physical aspects to dramatically portray the aspirations and emotional and lifestyle payoffs of weight loss, says Eric Sorensen, also creative director at the agency.

“Instead of using the typical one-dimensional before-and-after approach, we set out to capture a deeper, more compelling story,” Sorensen says. “The idea was to show the true, unscripted feelings” that people experience as they evolve into the individuals they want to be, he adds.

The content is undeniably emotional. For example, after the “new,” slender version of one of one woman, “Tina,” says “This is us -- this is who we’re supposed to be,” the “old,” overweight Tina chokes up as she says that she “can’t believe it.”

A second woman, “Kimberly,” is also tearful as she confesses to her new self that she wanted the weight loss “so bad,” adding: “You look beautiful. We look beautiful.”

The third subject, Joseph, expresses his pride in how great he now looks to his old self, adding: “No offense, but I hope I don’t see you again.” His old self responds: “You know what? I don’t blame you. I don’t ever want to see me like this again either.”

The campaign’s tagline, “Become Yourself,” reinforces the message that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can enable individuals to be who they truly are and open up their lives.

Each of the three spots has 60- and 30-second versions. The campaign, to run through 2013, also includes a Web site trailer, digital content and social and print components.

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