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Jennifer Hudson's Pitch-Perfect Weight Watchers Campaign

It was announced today that Jennifer Hudson is the new spokesperson for Weight Watchers, and in a new twist on the celebrity diet program endorsement, she's refusing to say how many pounds she's lost, focusing instead on being healthier.

In this commercial, which is up on the Weight Watcher's website and will start airing on April 4, Hudson talks about being "empowered" and says, "I want my family and my friends to learn good habits," but she never actually tells us how much weight she lost, which is the crux of almost all other diet plan commercials.


In the clip below from today's Good Morning America, anchor Robin Roberts comments that Hudson, who gave birth seven months ago, has "taken off all the baby weight and then some." Hudson says she isn't going to reveal how many pounds she's lost because because she wanted to be healthier, not necessarily skinner. She even refuses to bash her larger figure, saying in the clip below, "I was very comfortable with myself before. I never had a problem with it, it's just, 'OK, I have a child now and I want to set a great example for him.'"

Hudson may not be striking a blow against the media's weight obsession — she's still making money off her thinner figure — but, her new ads are an improvement over the usual Valerie Bertinelli-style weight loss commercials:

In commercials like these, plus the most recent public appearances by Kirstie Alley, and every episode of Celebrity Fit Club, the stars play into what Latoya once called our "insatiable appetite for narratives about fat people that serve up the desire to change, embarrassing situations, and a heaping helping of self-flagellation."


What's different about Hudson's new commercials is that she's removed the fat-shaming element. In her other Weight Watcher's ad below, we see a silhouette of her slimmer thighs, but for the most part her body is obscured as she emphasizes that losing makes her feel — not look — better, and, "It makes me love myself that much more." She doesn't playfully frown at her "before" shots or parade her new "bikini body" for the public's approval.

Hudson also gets points for making no mention of "baby weight" in the new ads. Again, by taking money for her weight loss story she is promoting the idea that new moms are desperate to lose weight in a way, but we like that her baby is seven months old and this is the first we've heard of it. For an idea of how Hudson could have marketed her weight loss, just look at Kendra Wilkinson, who has sold the tabloids an exclusive about her "body after baby" nearly every week since giving birth in December. Plus, new moms losing weight has been one of the most popular angles in diet plan advertising for years, as demonstrated by Kathie Lee Gifford in this heinous Slim Fast commercial from the early '90s:

Comments like "that extra weight is just where it should be — off" wouldn't really make sense for Hudson, since she rose to fame and won an Oscar while weighing more than most actresses in Hollywood. Hudson's career totally debunks the theory Danielle Fishel presents in this NutriSystem ad on why Boy Meets World didn't lead directly to a string of Oscar-caliber roles:

Still, the Weight Watchers campaign is a great way for Hudson to return to the public eye after taking off time to be with her family; in addition to shilling for the diet plan, she's advertising to casting agents that she's now slimmer than ever before. Even though we think (and hope) the comments about Gabourey Sidibe never working in Hollywood again will prove false, it's easy to imagine Hudson watching that controversy unfold and wanting to side-step the issue entirely.


Of course, it's possible Hudson really just wanted to be healthier, and in that case, good for her. But even if she was motivated entirely by money and advancing her career, we're just happy we won't have to watch TV commercials featuring a bikini-clad Hudson looking at a picture from Dreamgirls and declaring, "I am telling you, I'm not going... to put the weight back on."


Jennifer's Weight Watchers TV Ads [Weight Watchers]
Exclusive: Jennifer Hudson To Be New Weight Watchers Spokeswoman [ABC News]

Earlier: Celebrity Fat Club: Kirstie, Carnie, Kelly & America's Obession With Weight
This Week In Tabloids: Sandra's Husband Had An Affair, Justin Might Be Cheating On Jessica
After Precious Does Hollywood Have A Place For Gabby Sidibe?

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Erin Gloria Ryan

It's kind of hard to say that a new ad campaign for a company that calls itself "WEIGHT WATCHERS" isn't about, uh, weight.