Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oprah has POWER!

I admit that I am a fan of The Oprah Winfrey Show. I am more likely to watch it when she has my favorite celebrities on the show or when she is discussing a key scandal. However, if Oprah talks about a product on her show, it is big business. As a consumer, I trust her opinion and may indeed consider the products that she talks about. In my Advertising e-newsletter that I received yesterday, there was an article about how Oprah recently influenced General Mills' sales in a large way. You may be thinking, "General Mills is already a huge company, how could Oprah make any difference?" Well, I thought the same thing, but the article proved it. If a product is "placed" on Oprah's show, big sales can result - even for a giant company like General Mills.

Oprah's personal trainer recently created a new diet called the "Best-Life Diet." In the diet, there are " so many General Mills products that "the company believes it made a difference in third-quarter sales." Sales climbed up 9% and the CEO of General Mills, Steve Sanger thinks that the company indeed "did a little better, after that Best-Life Diet came out." This was much free publicity and indirect product placement, and I am sure General Mills is not complaining.

Besides helping General Mills by simply talking about them or "placing" them in a new diet plan, Oprah has also been known for helping authors and their books. Oprah's Book Club is a list of books that Oprah compiles herself, recommending them to her viewers. Oprah's audience is vast and trust her, so whatever book she chooses, the audience follows. This article states that "Oprah's recommendations had a bigger impact on the sales of books than anything we have previously seen in literature, or seen since." All of the book's that Oprah selects instantly surge onto the best seller lists and the authors reap the benefits. This is a simple word of mouth and product placement initiative that the authors do not have control of, but, like General Mills, take it as it comes.

Oprah is indeed an opinion leader and trusted by all ages of the public. When she uses product placement, the product instantly becomes successful. This is a huge power to have (I wish I could do that!). Products yearn for indirect product placement like this and only creates more motivation for them to create the ultimate product - a product that even Oprah would use.

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