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the oprah effect

the oprah effect

photo by steed media service


While Cher’s infamous infomercial endorsement did little to bolster the sales of Aquasentials Skin Care in the early ‘90s, aligning the right Hollywood heavyweight with a viable product can translate into titanic success.

When talk show titan Oprah Winfrey features products on her popular “Favorite Things Show,” the featured companies experience an immediate and exponential increase in sales. The “Oprah Effect” can also work in the opposite way. 

In an April 1996 show, Oprah featured an animal rights activist who discussed mad cow disease. After Oprah proclaimed to her audience she would never eat another hamburger again, millions of viewers listened and quickly followed suit. Following the show’s airing, beef sales and prices dropped dramatically. 

Oprah is very responsible with her great power. Other than raising awareness about impoverished areas in South Africa and getting a few million Americans to start reading, Oprah has never used her muscle in the political arena. Until now. 

September 9, 2007, The Big ‘O’ held a fundraiser for Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama at her mega mansion. Exclusive $2,300 tickets quickly sold out and the A-list elite, including Forest Whitaker, Sidney Poitier, Cindy Crawford and other wealthy donors, quickly lined up for entry to her palatial estate. The event raised over $3 million and was a spectacular success. 

With the November 2008 presidential elections quickly approaching, it’s yet to be seen how big an impact the Oprah Effect will have on the nation. Since her millions of fans across the US can’t have their ‘Pope’rah serve as the nation’s leader, perhaps they’ll settle for a fresh-faced political powerhouse. – adam jones