Not surprisingly, senior brand director Sarah Lombard believes the answer is yes, while the latest ad (‘Same Difference’) in a new series with the ‘deliciously doable’ tagline, playfully embraces – rather than repudiates – the ‘80s schtick, which is not actually seen as a negative, claims Lombard.
“What we’ve seen in research is that SlimFast is seen as a very positive brand. There’s no negative sentiment around SlimFast as a whole. People remember those [SlimFast] ads [from the 1980s] so it’s kind of a really cool way to break through in today’s media.”
Meanwhile, if dieting is a dirty word, a large percentage of consumers still want to lose or maintain weight, and a brand that is provably able to help people achieve that is just as relevant in 2022 as it was in 1982, points out Lombard, who was speaking to FoodNavigator-USA after launching a new intermittent fasting line, a packaging refresh set to roll out in the New Year that features real food photography, and a new marketing campaign (featuring the above ad) running on network TV, streaming services and social media channels.
“The fact that the brand has been around for that long [SlimFast was launched in 1977 as a product line of the Thompson Medical Company], shows that it works and that the products have stood the test of time.
“What’s maybe happened over time is the brand just hasn’t been seen as relevant to younger consumers or today’s modern consumer, so our job is to showcase to consumers that this is a trusted brand that’s been around for over 40 years, with 98% brand awareness, which is huge, and it continuously evolves.”
SlimFast was once the key player in the weight loss category with CNN reporting that revenues in 1999 had topped $611m, but it endured a precipitous slide under the ownership of Unilever, which bought the brand in 2000. After 14 years of sliding sales, Unilever unloaded it for an undisclosed sum to Kainos Capital, which went on to sell it to Glanbia for $350m in 2018 (2017 sales were $212m).
So how is it doing today?
“While we don’t disclose financial data,” said Lombard, “SlimFast is outperforming…