Celebrity Endorsment Strikes Again

2010 March 17
by Jennifer

Celebrity endorsements are the oldest trick in the marketing book, and even I am guilty of collapsing under the pressure a time or two. Yes, I own Proactiv, thanks to the dramatic results demonstrated by the clear skin on Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Love Hewitt. And the incredible before (angry and hoss-like) and after (lean and happy) of Daisy Fuentes had me on the phone with an operator buying Mari Windsor’s Pilates DVD—my first and ONLY infomercial purchase to date. It was a weak moment circa my senior year of college, the morning after a big night out on the town, lying in bed with guilt, Gatorade and Advil ifyouknowwhatImean). In the interest of full disclosure, yes I own a Magic Bullet but I did not buy it from the infomercial, although the infomercial certainly sealed the deal.

So naturally I was putty in Tracy Anderson’s hands when I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s rave review of this workout routine that has dramatically changed her body. As seen on Oprah a few years ago, Madonna is also a proud member of Tracy’s fitness cult, as are Courtney Cox and Kristin Davis. Sold! Now I am not in the market for a complete body change, but I simply couldn’t resist the promise of “long lean muscles and a thin physique” and “amazing results I never thought were possible.” Needless to say I threw the Tracy Anderson Method Mat Workout DVD in my Amazon cart and proceeded to check out.

According to Tracy, “This Mat video is very dear to me because it is the first time I have ever released my muscular structure work to the public. The purpose of this video is to re-engineer your muscular structure, wake up your accessory muscles, pull in your larger muscles and shift your shape into something that you never knew you could achieve.”

Here is a sample of Tracy’s Method:

I was excited to pop that baby in and get on the road to long lean muscles. The hour-long workout goes like this: warm-up, standing legs, standing abs, standing arms, standing arms with weights, mat legs, mat abs then a cool-down. The leg series is very ballet-ish. The arm series is unbelievably painful but productive; I can see how it would get great results if you can tolerate the repetition and the pain. The DVD is one hour long and I felt every minute of it. Every exercise was done multiple times for countless repetitions, made worse by the fact that Tracy doesn’t tell you how many to expect so they seem to go on and on. and on. and on. Stick your arms straight out to the side. Now hold them there and twist your hands in small circles for 20 minutes. I just saved you $29.95.

Tracy claims that a woman should never, I repeat NEVER lift more than three pound weights because those add bulk which eventually leads to wobbly floppy skin on the arms, a.k.a. “bat wings.” She said this with the conviction and the insistence often seen in anti-drug campaigns. As if lifting weights over three pounds is the equivalent to taking a hit of the crack pipe or driving drunk. I admit that I looked at my beloved Jillian DVD and almost resented her for encouraging me to lift heavy weights. Almost. It turns out that the whole “bulking” thing is a total myth!! Do you think Tracy has someone else carry her groceries?

The Pros: I felt the burn! My arms and hiney were sore the next day so apparently my time was well spent. Tracy’s music was much better than your average workout DVD soundtrack. Dancers might like this workout. It made me feel graceful. I have the same personal trainer as Madonna!

The Cons: The hour went by painfully slow. It felt like I was back in high school biology where I watched the clock and felt the passing of every second. I didn’t connect with Tracy. I can’t bring myself to do the routine again for fear of falling asleep mid workout and/or throwing something at the television. I hate disagreeing with Gwyneth Paltrow.

In conclusion, this DVD didn’t do it for me and I don’t foresee it becoming part of my rainy day workout rotation. My expectations were high and I really wanted to fall in love with Tracy and her Method but it didn’t happen. I am, however, willing to give Tracy and her countless celebrity endorsers the benefit of the doubt. This mat workout was the first DVD Tracy released and I bet Tracy has enhanced her Method since then. I would be willing to try another DVD from the newer series, but someone else would have to give it to me as a gift. And a workout DVD given as a gift usually insults the gift recipient.

To wrap up this rather lengthy review, I will share one of my favorite commercials featuring a celebrity endorsement. Wanna be like Mike? Just drink Gatorade.