Weight Watchers To Offer Program Tailored For Men

Weight Watchers, a diet program that has almost exclusively appealed to females since its inception in the 1960s, will target men with a new online diet program it plans to launch in April.

Apparently inspired by NutriSystem--which saw its male membership rise from 13% before Miami Dolphin Dan Marino joined as spokesperson to 30% today--Weight Watchers is hoping to increase its male membership, which stands at 10% in the offline/weekly meeting program and 8% online.

Hawked by Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson for the past decade, the upcoming WeightWatchers.com effort is a first attempt to get a bigger share of the male demographic by specifically catering to their dieting needs.

At the same time, several analysts expect Weight Watchers to up its ad spend this year, breaking a first offline campaign for its online WeightWatchers.com this year as well as new national campaign for the offline program. The account, valued at $70 million, had been at Young & Rubicam and is now under review.

The April effort is the first in the industry tailored to men. However, NutriSystem sells dieters its own food products, which would seemingly have greater appeal to men. Yet, the elimination of face-to-face meetings by Weight Watchers probably is attractive to males, who aren't as comfortable in groups, generally.

Separately, Jenny McCarthy, an outspoken, sassy actress in the mold of Jenny Craig's Kirstie Alley, has recently teamed with Weight Watchers.