Pot, Kettle, Black

I'm sorry, but my irony-meter (ironometer?) just dinged so loud I was practically deafened:

Weight Watchers Sues Jenny Craig Over Deceptive Advertising

To me, any weight loss program advertisement is pretty deceptive--if you are mandated to have "*results not typical" in small print, you can pretty much guess that what you are hawking is worthless. I mean, Weight Watchers portrays your hunger as a little fuzzy square-shaped monster, which isn't exactly accurate. ABC's Good Morning America* has more on the story here:

"Jenny's delicious cuisine and the support of your personal consultant make all the difference," Bertinelli, who lost 49 pounds on Jenny Craig, says in the commercial. "Jenny Craig clients lost, on average, over twice as much weight as those on the largest weight loss program."

Those claims have Weight Watchers fighting mad. The company says Jenny Craig's so-called science is a big fat lie.

"The claims that they are using in that advertising was just patently deceptive," said David Kirchhoff, the president of Weight Watchers International.

And now Weight Watchers is taking the fight to court.

"They compared a study they did this year, for one purpose, to a study we did 10 years ago," Kirchhoff said.

The Jenny Craig ads never mention Weight Watchers by name, but Kirchhoff says "everybody knew. You say the world's leading weight loss company; everybody knows who you are talking about."

Jenny Craig stands behind its message, and their science.
The real irony is, of course, that science supports neither of these companies' weight loss programs. An independent study from UCLA shows that diets don't work. Despite the assurances from corporate big wigs that these programs aren't a diet ("They're a lifestyle change!"), um, they're a diet. You're restricting your food to try and lose weight--if that's not a diet, then I don't know what is.

Still, the legal issues brought up in this lawsuit--"whether the ad claim is false, or misleading to the point of being the functional equivalent of false, and whether or not an ordinary person would be impacted by the ad's claims"--are both relevant and important. I'm curious to see where it ends up; the chuckles I get from my off-the-charts ironometer are merely a bonus.

*Holy leaping Freudian slip, Batman! I initially typed "Food Morning America."

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Anonymous said...

Ha. Beautiful. And just as a side note, excellent use of irony. It drives me crazy (or more so) when people misuse irony (ahem: Alanis Morrisette).

Katie said...

Wow, two companies fighting over completely non-scientific claims? I want to know what happens too :P mostly so I can laugh. There is a reason the diet industry is so huge, and it doesn't take a genius to work out that this is because diets don't work!

Kate said...

Hey Carrie, I was wondering if you had heard about the controversy surrounding Michelle Obama putting her kids on a diet because their pediatrician said they "were getting overweight."? I thought it might be an interesting post for you to do. I normally adore Mrs. O., so I'm kind of shocked and disappointed in her now. Here's the link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1247254/Michelle-Obama-puts-daughters-diet-launching-obesity-campaign-U-S.html#ixzz0eE4wcs8Q

Thanks! Love your blog. xx

Carrie Arnold said...


Indeed I did- check out the most recent Sunday Smorgasbord!

Jessie said...

Oh, ouch, the irony. I can't wait to see how this one comes out.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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