Weight loss brand Jenny Craig has pulled its sponsorship of the Kyle & Jackie O Show after just one day, admitting that it “badly misjudged public perception of Kyle Sandilands”.
The company did so in the face of a growing international backlash. By last night Jenny Craig’s US Facebook page had been overrun by Australian consumers attacking the sponsorship. Many of them pointed out that a previous target of the show was former Jenny Craig ambassador Magda Szubanski who Sandilands had said would lose more weight in a concentration camp. That incident two years ago saw him temporarily taken off the air.
Late last night Jenny Craig issued a statement saying:
“One thing about Jenny Craig is that we listen. We listen, we understand and we make an enormous effort to walk in the shoes of others. We badly misjudged public perception of Kyle Sandilands. We have taken what has been said seriously. Mel B has happily been part of the 2DAY FM Breakfast show for the better part of last year. Our intention was to support our ambassador in her broader media role. We feel sorry we have offended so many people, underestimated the sentiment against Kyle and are clearly upset that we made such a mistake. We have instructed 2DAY FM that our advertising is to be discontinued on the Kyle & Jackie O show, and the rest of their schedule immediately.”
Yesterday was the Kyle & Jackie O Show’s first day back on the air after the summer ratings break. The final week’s of the program’s 2011 season were dogged by controversy over Sandilands’ on air comments over a News Limited journalist who he described as a “fat slag” and threatened to hunt her down after she wrote a negative story about his TV show. Previous sponsor Holden, along with a string of advertisers, pulled their support for the show in the days that followed.
Initially Jenny Craig tried to ride out the storm yesterday, issuing a statement saying that it was supporting the Kyle & Jackie O Show because of its large audience, and that it wasn’t going to judge Kyle Sandilands.
For a few hours the brand attempted to promote a hashtag on Twitter #tellkylewhattyouthink.
Yesterday afternoon, Jenny Craig’s media agency Mindshare revealed that it had not been involved in negotiating the deal with 2Day FM’s owner Southern Cross Austereo.
11.20pm update: Rhys Holleran, CEO for Southern Cross Austereo said in a statement:
“In light of the recent withdrawal of advertising by Jenny Craig from the Kyle and Jackie O Breakfast Show on 2Day FM, we reinforce that we value our listeners and clients dearly and hold the utmost respect for their opinions and actions. As a business Southern Cross Austereo constantly strives to deliver attractive products for Australians. We are confident the Kyle and Jackie O Show has been positively re-set for 2012 and our teams are committed to ensuring it is both entertaining for listeners and provides an advertiser friendly environment.”