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Paparazzi-bashing ad by Fergie is canceled

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 3 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

Losing weight is harder than "outrunning the paparazzi," Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, says in a Weight Watchers advertising campaign that has been canceled upon the death of Princess Diana.

Thousands of direct-mail brochures were sent out before the campaign was stopped. The cover of the brochure promoting a new Weight Watchers regimen shows Ferguson sitting cross-legged, smiling at the camera."It's harder than outrunning the paparazzi," the opening line says.

Police have said the car crash that killed Diana early Sunday in Paris may have been caused in part by celebrity photographers giving chase on motorcycles.

Fergie, as she is popularly known, became Weight Watchers' spokeswoman earlier this year, and the new campaign was to be launched with TV ads Monday and a news conference Wednesday. The news conference and about 15 scheduled interviews have been canceled, and the duchess has flown to London with her two daughters to attend the funeral.

Publicist Howard Rubenstein, whose agency set up the promotional campaign, said the brochure was mailed last week, days before the Paris crash.

"It has a touch of irony that nobody could have predicted," he said. "The duchess certainly is sensitive to the situation, and it's just unfortunate that the mailing went out when it did."

He said some print ads containing the paparazzi line could not be yanked in time and would appear in magazines with earlier deadlines, such as Glamour and Self. TV ads, which did not contain the line, were pulled off the networks, although they ran in some local markets over the weekend.

"We were able to catch 95 percent of what was being done," Ruben-stein said.

It is not the first time Ferguson has dumped on the paparazzi. She did it, literally, in a television ad for Ocean Spray cranberry juice earlier this year in which she poured a vat of ice water on a pho-tog-rapher.

That ad, which ran for a few months, was "well received," said John Lawlor, manager of communications for Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. of Lakeville, Mass.

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