“In the past, people and companies would focus on how much they lost, how quickly they could get back to their perfect size or on getting back into a bikini. But, people’s attitudes toward success are evolving. What they are really looking for is a measure of success that is reasonable and sustainable. And that is what we brought together in the idea of ‘happy weight,’” said Scott Parker, chief marketing officer at Atkins Nutritionals.
“Happy weight is a weigh at which you are eating food that is healthy and you are eating in a fashion that is sustainable and not extreme and you can continue indefinitely. You are at a weight where you are comfortable in your own skin and not mentally anguishing over your weight,” he added.
In a 30-second television spot currently airing, Milano adds her “happy weight” is one where she feels “healthy and strong.” She explains in the ad that she reached her happy weight with the help of Atkins, which is “even better” than she thought.
Parker explained that Atkins changed the tone of its ads to better reflect current views of consumers, who are shunning “diet” foods and calorie-counting in favor of eating “clean” foods that have short, easy to understand ingredient lists.
“People are eating less processed food, which, depending on how much they ate before, can mean they are eating less calories and sodium and moving towards a healthier and sustainable approach,” Parker said, adding: “That is exactly what we recommend with Atkins. You give up things that you know are really bad – like sugar and refined flours – and it is quiet easy and sustainable given the menu and approaches Atkins provides.”
Atkins is not the only “diet” food company making these changes. Back To Nature Foods recently reformulated classic diet brand SnackWell’s to have cleaner ingredient lists, and Kellogg repositioned Special K as a wellness brand after years of promoting it as a diet product.
Milano busts myths about Atkins
The new ads featuring Milano also tackle off-putting misconceptions about Atkins' products and the low-carb lifestyle.
In one spot, Milano asks viewers what they think when they hear Atkins. “All meat? No carbs?” she suggests, adding, “Well, Atkins isn’t what you think.”
She then explains that the diet includes whole foods, vegetables and fruit, as well as indulgent items, such as dark chocolate and salted caramel, which are featured in Atkinss new Harvest Trail bars.
The misconception that Atkins is “all protein, and fatty protein at that” comes from the Aktins craze in the early 2000s, Parker said. “We are trying to communicate it is really very balanced. You get a great deal of vegetables and fruit – even more than the USDA recommends. … Plus, whole grains.”
Parker noted that when people understand the Atkins diet is balanced, their consideration of following it triples.
Atkins has a long history of promoting its products with celebrities, who it uses because they add credibility and relatability to the advertising claims, attract more consumers and often help generate other free media.
The company selected Milano specifically because she is “the spot on target demographic” for Atkins products: a 40-year-old female who might not have struggled with weight when she was younger but as she matures or has children weight-management became more of an issue.
In addition, in Milano’s line of work, maintaining a healthy weight and appearance is extremely important, and the fact she chose Atkins to help her “speaks volumes about its efficiency,” Parker said.
The campaign will make Milano’s success with Atkins even more relatable in an upcoming spot in which the actress will talk with real people about their success with the brand, Parker said.
Atkins Nutritionals also is launching several new products that underscore its messaging that consumers can eat carbs and a wide variety of foods.
Notably, two new products are pastas, which is a food many followers miss or may be tempted to “cheat" with by eating, Parker said.
Using a proprietary technology that removes the carbohydrates from the pasta while maintaining the protein, Atkins now offers a mac & cheese that is “gooey and cheesy and yummy, but also good for you” with 30 grams of protein, Parker said.
It also now offers a meat lasagna frozen meal, which rounds out a line of entrees that includes “refreshed versions” of shrimp scampi and Italian-style pasta bake, according to the company.