Worth trouble to get brand on O?

Oprah has become large enough to be a walking commercial endorsement as most already know.

She doesn’t do structured brand-integration deals or live commercials. And Harpo Productions tightly controls advance and post-publicity about the praise that gets parceled out. Because nobody tells Opra what to say this has become a part of the appeal to have her review the titles.

She is the very pinnacle of product publicity. And yet, despite Oprah Winfrey’s and Harpo Productions’ dogged efforts to protect her brand and, by extension, the many smaller ones that draw energy from it, Oprah has taken some notable dings lately, largely of her own making.

How do you get your brand on “Oprah”? It helps if Oprah likes your brand or its ads. It helps more still if Oprah’s producers like you. And it possibly helps even more if Oprah likes you or the person endorsing your brand.
Both Harpo and marketers, however, deny quid pro quos. And the successes of such smaller brands as Kitchen Aid and Dolly Parton indicate one need not pay to play on “Oprah.” Dove Unilever amongst the most profited brand –
“I’m sure Oprah really does like the ads,” author Virginia Postrel wrote on her Dynamist.com blog. “But I doubt that the ‘Dove girls’ would be on the show without Unilever’s advertising checks. Dove also just happened to choose Oprah’s best friend [and O Editor at Large] Gayle King to receive their first Dove Real Beauty Award.”
Raising eyebrows in a Wall Street Journal interview in October 2005, Silvia Lagnado, then Unilever’s global brand director on Dove, said: “Just last week, we started a relationship with Oprah. We are sponsoring her show. She mentioned the Dove products on the show and had the women in our ads in their underwear in the show.”

-Source: Ad Age

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