Bernstein takes on fad diets, urges consumers to ‘Trust the Experts’

Who: Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics, with Giants & Gentlemen for strategy and creative, Push for media.

What: “Trust the Experts,” a new brand campaign to enlist new customers to the weight-loss company, which recently closed all of its in-person locations.

When & Where: The online campaign launched on Feb. 15 (right about the time many of those new year’s commitments to hit the gym more often started wearing off) across digital and social.

Why: Bernstein permanently shut down all of its facilities during the pandemic, shifting instead to virtual delivery of its medically supervised weight loss program. That meant reorienting its marketing towards new customer acquisition, with a campaign capable of driving leads for immediate consideration.

The work is designed to help the company stand out in a highly competitive category that is popularized by both traditional brands on the road to reinvention (see: WW) and digital disruptors like Noom that promise wellness benefits beyond weight loss.

The timing for such a campaign is also ideal. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian adults (63.1%) are considered overweight, according to Statistics Canada data, while more than two-fifths have reported experiencing changes in weight as a result of the pandemic.

How: The challenge for Giants & Gentlemen was to help Bernstein stand out in a category whose marketing tends to focus on testimonials, celebrity endorsements and influencers. Bernstein’s primary customer is women 40+ with a high household income, although one of the ads does feature a man.

The creative nods to the fad diets that are a mainstay of the industry (the average person will try 126 fad diets during their lifetime). Two 15-second spots, “Meathead” and “Juicer,” show someone going to extreme lengths to follow a fad diet, such as all meat or no solids, while pointing out they have done zero research or there are no facts to support the efficacy of such an approach. Both spots end with the  message to viewers to “Cut the fads. Trust the experts,” before showing the Bernstein logo.

And we quote: “In a sea of fad diets and promises of quick fixes, Bernstein is the one that works. It’s backed by medical science and overseen by actual doctors and nurses. We wanted to drive awareness of this fact in a fun, engaging way. You’re not the expert in weight loss—the Bernstein Diet and Health Clinic is.” —Alannah Nathanson, co-CEO and chief creative officer, Giants & Gentlemen

Chris Powell