Weight-loss and maintenance company Weight Watchers has rebranded itself and dropped the ‘weight’ in its name to remain simply WW.
Although the wellness giant said the move was part of “the next stage of the company’s evolution,” its chief executive didn’t specify what the letters WW stood for, the BBC reported.
Mindy Grossman said they were a “marquee,” but didn’t stand for Weight Watchers or “Wellness that Works,” an expression WW has trademarked.
The company’s goal with this shift is to a focus more on general wellness and the promotion of healthy living, rather than purely on weight-loss. Grossman, who took on the role just over a year ago, said the changes have been in development for the past two years.
According to USA Today, WW is also removing “all artificial ingredients in its products, including artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.”
The company received a boom in profit after TV personality Oprah Winfrey became an ambassador for the brand and even bought a stake in 2015. Her involvement prompted the firm’s stock prices to go from under $5 each to the current $70.
Oprah has publicly backed the shift, saying that ever since she joined the Board, she thinks the role WW plays in people’s lives “goes far beyond a number on the scale.”
“As Weight Watchers becomes WW, I believe we will continue to inspire people not only to eat well but to move more, connect with others and continue to experience the joys of a healthy life,” she said in a statement.
Weight Watchers is now WW. We have a mission: to inspire healthy habits for real life—for everyone. We’ll always be the global leader in weight loss. Now we’re becoming the world’s partner in wellness. Learn more: https://t.co/mtCRV10xx2 #WeAreWW pic.twitter.com/2uNqaNYber— WW (@ww_us) September 24, 2018
The firm’s sales went up almost 18% between April and June, while the number of subscribers rose from one million to 4.5 million in the space of a year.
The 55-year-old company has focused mainly on weight-loss throughout its history, but it has decided to change its name amid a backlash against the word “weight.”
Earlier in the year, WW also announced it was going to offer free membership to teenagers during the summer, which caused controversy with eating disorder awareness groups and started the hashtag #wakeupweightwatchers.
But now, its rebranding includes an update to its “FitPoints system,” so it encourages users to pick activities that most positively impact their health based on size, age, and sex, as well as a new focus on “healthy habits” in its app.
“That marque represents our heritage and history and what we are going forward. This is just a next step, a point of validation. Like any brand we have to stay relevant,” Grossman said.