What are the Jobs to be Done by Weight Watchers?
One is social:
Finding companionship and camaraderie was maybe even more important than the diet or even weight loss. Ten weeks into her weight-loss program, Jean announced to her friends that she had lost twenty pounds. They wanted to know her secret. So she decided that she’d invite six of her friends who struggled with dieting to come to her apartment to play mah-jongg and she’d tell them what she had learned the day before in diet class. (p. 93)
Another is emotional support:
[T]hey opened up to each other . Jean immediately felt that same liberation she had when talking to the woman in Florida who had, like her, lost a child. She looked around the room and realized that each woman was confessing about her habits and her life for the first time. Any initial embarrassment about what their friends might think of their favorite foods or midnight snacking turned to relief. Someone asked to meet again the following week, and Jean suggested they meet every week. That’s how Jean the housewife created a space where a group of women struggling with their weight could come together and be honest about their lives. (p. 93)
The job-to-be done is different for various groups, though. Younger members tend to prefer meeting online (p. 35), as do men:
Men were always about 10 percent of the Weight Watchers program and the advent of an internet-based plan that didn’t force you to publicly weigh in or attend meetings suited their demographic. The company launched an online program specifically for men (seemingly for straight men, given the “manly” language used: “Lose like a man” and “Real men don’t diet”) . The Basketball Hall of Fame player Charles Barkley was the celebrity spokesman. The message was about sticking to the program and losing weight; it lacked the therapeutic tone of redemption often used on women and also the self - abnegation of how much this was all your fault. (p. 258)
The book is also an overview of food trends and dieting fads throughout the twentieth century, as well.