The Power of Oprah

Weight Watcher's stock soared today. Why? Oprah Winfrey, now a 10% shareholder in the company, released an ad featuring Oprah and Oprah sent out a tweet with the ad. That's apparently all it took.

I have always liked Weight Watchers. It was founded in the early 1960's by Jean Nidetch, then a Brooklyn housewife and compulsive eater. Her partners were her overweight husband and another couple. Within 5 years, there were 5 million members and franchises everywhere. The message was that over-eating is an emotional problem.

Jean died last April at age 91. I spent a week at a health spa with her in the early 80's, which was a few years after she and her partners sold the company to R.J. Heinz (for $71.2 million) and probably around the time she retired from her public relations role.

She was very smart and funny and fun to be around.

Here's a picture I took of her that week, and one another guest took of her and me. (again, these were taken was some 30 years ago. I probably weighed 100 pounds at the time.)

Weight Watcher's answer to over-eating in the 60's:

[T]the crucial ingredient was psychological — journals to keep track of what one ate, diets with realistic goals and lifelong maintenance programs, supportive magazines and books, television forums, camps, and meetings like those for alcoholics, with confessions and motivational speakers.

Oprah and Weight Watchers are a perfect pairing -- almost like peanut butter and jelly.

I wonder if Oprah ever met Jean. Oprah has also been to the same spa, reportedly many times (as has just about every other celebrity wanting a break from their hectic life or to lose weight). Weight Watcher's stock today is just over $23.00 a share. You can buy 370 shares of Weight Watchers for the price of one week at the spa. If you could only choose one, which would it be? I'd choose the week at the spa.

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    Oprah tied Michelle Obama (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Dec 30, 2015 at 03:13:40 PM EST
    For the third most admired woman in the world  behind Hillary and Malala Yousafzai.

    The men were interesting. Obama and then the Pope and Donald Trump tied then Bernie.

    whose ratings are these? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Dec 30, 2015 at 03:27:23 PM EST
    Oprah and Hillary have long topped the list of most admired women. Are you talking about 2014 and Gallup? It was Hillary's 13th year at the top and Obama's 7th. That year, Hillary had 12% and Oprah 8%.

    Gallup (none / 0) (#4)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Dec 31, 2015 at 10:05:26 AM EST
    That picture is so cute! (none / 0) (#3)
    by ruffian on Thu Dec 31, 2015 at 09:56:43 AM EST
    I like the straightforwardness of weight watchers - not so gimmicky, focussing on healthy eating and the support of the group. It does seem tailor made for Oprah, now that I think of it.

    Of course being a TV nerd, I immediately go to the Mad Men series of episodes with Betty Draper going to something like Weight Watchers - though I don't think they called it that on the show. It helped her too, to the extent she let it.