The Oprah Effect: Her Endorsement Goldmine
Her show reaches about 44 million people a week, so you can understand why people want Oprah to plug their products. But time might be running out for people hoping to strike gold with an Oprah stamp of approval. In a statement released Thursday, her company announced that the 'Oprah' show will end as its 25th season draws to a close on September 9, 2011.
"I love this show. This show has been my life. And I know when it's time to say goodbye... Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and feels right in my spirit," Winfrey said. (Get the full story.)
1. Neti Pot - When Dr. Oz first introduced Americans to The Neti Pot, a natural remedy for sinus pain and congestion, they flew off drugstore shelves. Now, Oprah says she can't go anywhere without hers.
2. Oprah's Book Club - The proof is in the pudding. If Oprah puts a book into her elite club, usually it turns into a New York Times' best seller. 'The Bluest Eye,' 'Middlesex' and 'Love in the Time of Cholera,' are just a few books Winfrey has promoted through the club -- helping authors reach a wider audience.
And don't mess with Oprah either. The now infamous incident of James Frey's memoir, 'A Million Little Pieces,' a 2005 selection, has been outed from her club after she found out the author had fabricated most of the novel. The controversy resulted in Frey and publisher Nan Talese being confronted and publicly shamed by Winfrey on live television during her show.
Above: Oprah Winfrey, right, on Jan. 26, 2006 during her live television interview with James Frey, author of 'A Million Little Pieces.' Winfrey challenged Frey over his disputed memoir during the telecast, asking him to explain why he "felt the need to lie." Frey's story of substance abuse and recovery became one of the best-selling books of 2005 after Winfrey named it to her book club last fall, with countless addicts citing it as inspiration.
3. Charities & Philanthropic Involvement - From education in Africa to reconstruction in New Orleans, Oprah has raised awareness about major world issues (and spent millions of dollars of her own money to promote these causes.) Earlier this year, Oprah featured an impromptu segment with the human rights organization Invisible Children, which focuses on telling the stories of war-affected children in east Africa. The group's segment made their grassroots project into a worldwide name -- even gaining the attention of celebrities like Rachel Bilson, Miley Cyrus and Pete Wentz.
4. Barack Obama - In her first public endorsement, Winfrey gave Barack Obama's presidential campaign her seal of approval, which a University of Maryland study found may have netted him one million votes. During the election campaign, she even snubbed Sarah Palin by not inviting her to be on her show. (But that changed this week when she invited Palin to chat about her memoir 'Going Rogue.')
5. Thermage - Few Americans had heard of a beauty treatment called Thermage until Oprah began discussing it on her talk show. Billed as a procedure to tighten skin, Thermage uses a radio-wave emitting machine to heat and expand collagen beneath the skin's surface. Oprah called Thermage a "lunchtime face-lift" that requires no recovery time. When it was first showcased in 2003, sales reps were selling the machines over the phone to doctors for about $30,000!
6. We Take The Cake - In 2003, Lori Karmel bought a floundering mail order business which later became We Take the Cake. The business only turned a $19 profit in 2004. But the company was pulled from the brink of bankruptcy after becoming one of Oprah's Favorite Things. Ten-thousand cakes were sold after the show and today it is a million dollar business.
7. Spanx - In 2000, Oprah chose Spanx shape wear as one of her "Favorite Things." The Atlanta-based clothing company quickly sold $50,000 worth of products in just three months.
8. Music Impact - When the Black Eyed Peas performed on this year's 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' season opener, the band's album sales jumped 29 percent. And when Whitney Houston gave a two-part interview to Oprah, her album sales shot up 77 percent.
9. Celebrity Superstars - Being on Oprah's buddy list can help you, too. Dr. Oz and Rachael Ray can thank Oprah for her continued support of their careers, giving them time on her show to introduce new products, shows and books. (And hey - Dr. Oz even got his own TV show after working alongside Oprah.)
10. LAFCO - Jon Bresler and Vincent LaRouche of LAFCO pitched their European bath and body products to Oprah's Favorite Things Show for seven years -- even though they already had celebrity clients including David Bowie and Penelope Cruz. After being featured on Oprah's show 2007, sales peaked at more than a million dollars in just 30 days.
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