The Oprah Factor

Oprah Winfrey has put the wraps on her show after 25 seasons on the air.  “Lady O” reshaped what the daytime talk show was all about.  I was never a huge fan, but actually started to watch her show in 2010. Then, Oprah launched OWN– The Oprah Winfrey Network- in 2011.  I gained more respect into Oprah the woman and Oprah the marketer.

courtesy Harpo Productions

An appearance on Oprah could catapult your career or put shame on it. That, to me, is a great lesson in public relations and in marketing. There are a few examples of why being touched by Oprah could (or could not) be just what a product or person needed.

-“Oprah’s Book Club” was a boon for authors. According to Nielsen BookScan, Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, sold 3,370,000 copies after it was published in 2005, which tracks about 75% of the market.

-Dr. Phil can thank Oprah for his show. After making numerous appearances on “Oprah,” he got a show of his own and has been a success.

-Oprah’s success on TV ultimately allowed her to launch “O Magazine,” Oprah Radio on SiriusXM, and later, OWN.

-“Oprah’s Favorite Things” featured hard-to-get items and must-haves. Little known products that were featured often had a significant sales bump.

There were also adverse affects to appearing on Oprah. Remember Tom Cruise’s couch jumping appearance? The reaction was less than stellar for Cruise, post show.

Then there is the case of  Iyanla Vanzant, the Oprah show’s former widely-acclaimed relationship expert. She was poised to join Dr. Phil as a former guest to gain a show. But, an apparent disagreement between Vanzant and Oprah led to an 11-year gap as a guest.  Vanzant, a popular author, did gain her own show through Barbara Walters. But it was short lived. This whole situation proved that Oprah could make you and knew talent.

Oprah’s real marketing and PR test will come with OWN. Will viewers flock to watch the well-produced “Masters Class” or even Shania Twain’s reality show? Oprah has shown it’s not wise to count her out.

“You can have it all. Just not all at once,” Winfrey said. I think we as PR and marketing pros can learn something from that quote.

What are your thoughts on Oprah’s marketing, PR, or even personal brand? Leave comments below.


About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on May 27, 2011, in Hot Topic, Inspiration, Marketing, Personal Branding, Public Relations, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.


    I admire the zeal in Oprah; despite family matters, she never checked her brains at the door.
    A wounded healer is a great asset. Sincerely, Elouise Swanson

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