PR Round-Up: September 2018

“Weight Watchers” Rebrands into Wellness-Focused Business

What’s wrong with their old approach?

If someone needed a diet to stick to that helped them quickly lose weight, they turned to Weight Watchers. The company initially branded themselves on delivering the best diet for weight loss, backed by well-known celebrities like Jessica Simpson and Oprah Winfrey. Unfortunately, they have also been known to support the belief that to be healthy; one must be thin.

What changes have they made?

The company has announced significant modifications in their brand, most notably to using “WW” instead of “Weight Watchers” as the company name. Switching over to WW allows the company to shift from a focus on weight to their new focus on wellness and overall health. This keeps up with the trends of shifting the way people feel about their bodies, from striving for thinness to striving for fitness. WW has also changed their color scheme, updated their app to track other health goals besides weight loss and introduced a new spokesperson, producer DJ Khaled, who is recognized for using his platform to spread support and positivity.

How is the public responding?

Despite WW’s avid push to be viewed as a company that prioritizes health and wellness, they have received a lot of criticism from this change. Many people see the change as forced and confusing. They wish that the company would speak more about the negative effects that their previous weight loss-focused approach has had on their customers. They have also viewed the change as an effort to fit in with trends, rather than to stand for something as important as health.

Do Muppets Have a Sexual Orientation?

Where did this debate begin?

As with many modern-day arguments, the talk about the sexual orientation of Sesame Street’s Muppets began on Twitter. Former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman revealed in an interview that believing that characters Bert and Ernie were in a relationship helped him conceptualize them. However, his comment elicited a tweet from the Sesame Workshop account, arguing that the characters were only friends, which has since been deleted. They replaced it with a statement on inclusion, restating that Bert and Ernie did not have a sexual orientation.

Does it matter?

Sesame Workshop’s response to the Bert and Ernie debate received mixed responses. On the one hand, some viewers and childhood lovers of Sesame Street do not see the need for any of the Muppets to have a sexual orientation. They believe that having characters in a same-sex relationship is too complex for an audience of children. On the other hand, others think that having a same-sex couple shown in Sesame Street would further emphasize their goals for inclusion and diversity.

What does it mean for the company?

While Sesame Street seems to have moved on, their current and previous audiences have not. The debate on the sexual orientation of iconic characters Bert and Ernie is ongoing.

A New – And Terrifying – Mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers

How bad is it?

The Philadelphia Flyers hockey team recently debuted their new mascot, GrittyGritty is a tall, fuzzy, orange monster, complete with orange googly eyes. His strange appearance shocked fans and opponents alike.

Is a new mascot good for the team?

It’s obvious to onlookers that Gritty is not your average mascot. This can be a positive or a negative. While Gritty confuses and occasionally frightens those who see him, he has brought a lot of publicity to the Philadelphia Flyers, right in time for the start of hockey season in October.

Celeste Brown is a sophomore at American University in Washington, DC.

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