With the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that more than one million viewers tuned in for its first prime-time show airings. According to the article, more women between the ages of 25 and 54 “were watching OWN than were watching all but two other cable networks –ESPN and USA.” In the long term, the hope of Ms. Winfrey and Discovery Communications, Inc., co-owners in the OWN venture, is that Oprah’s reputation will help convert the nearly seven million loyal fans of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” into regular patrons of OWN.
For public relations and marketing professionals, those are some exciting numbers. The demographic of women between 25 and 54 has been a key market for many company and product groups. Most consumer marketing plans would be remiss if they neglected a strategy to reach Oprah’s fan base, otherwise known as the “mommy blogger” segment, as it is a coveted demographic and one that fits neatly into the above mentioned age range.
“A favorable mention from Oprah can make a big difference in awareness, reputation, and sales for products, services, causes – and even political races,” according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. For this reason, most companies are willing to put up a fight to achieve a product placement or mention on the show. However, historically, Oprah’s original talk show was next to impossible to land a product placement or mention on. In fact, several people have documented and written books about their struggles, failures and successes in this realm. Two such books are “How to Get Booked on Oprah, in O Magazine, and on Oprah’s Favorite Things” and “How to Get Booked on Oprah.”
So how will public relations and marketing plans shift with the arrival of OWN, a potential new way to reach that key consumer demographic? OWN features several shows that will be great targets for consumer products, including “Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag,” “Master Class,” “Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love” and “The Gayle King Show.”
Despite the uptick in the number of potential shows on which to place a product, I wouldn’t expect the level of difficulty in getting that placement to reduce. As Oprah’s personal and professional influence continues to grow at an exponential rate, so will the amount of companies who target her network. This goes for public relations as well. Now that nearly every consumer product out there is represented by public relations professionals, it’s reasonable to expect that many will be pitching their stories to OWN’s producers. If you do decide to target OWN, we recommend ensuring you have a strong broadcast story to tell, one that is relevant to the audience of the show you are targeting.
Have any of you successfully placed a product on Oprah’s talk show? Will you be taking aim at any of the new programs on OWN? We’d love to hear your stories.Tags: Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag, Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love, Discovery Communications, How to Get Booked on Oprah, Master Class, Mommy Blogger, Oprah Winfrey Network, Oprah’s fan base, OWN, Product Placement, Puget Sound Business Journal, Strong Broadcast Story, The Gayle King Show, Wall Street Journal