What is the Oprah Effect

The Oprah Effect refers to the boost in sales that followed an endorsement on The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired on TV for 25 years. A recommendation from Oprah, the queen of talk shows, turned many fashion and lifestyle products into multimillion-dollar companies.


Many businesses and people, who were lucky enough to appeal to Oprah Winfrey, found overnight success after being promoted on her groundbreaking show – which ran from 1986 to 2011, and was the highest-rated daytime talk show in American TV history.

The Oprah Effect was especially powerful because of her authenticity. Oprah chose products she was genuinely interested in, rather than being paid to promote them. And, unlike typical celebrity endorsements, she supported independent family businesses.

Thanks to Oprah, TV personalities like psychologist Dr. Phil, health-expert Dr. Oz and TV cook Rachael Ray have all become household names with their own TV shows. She also had a huge impact on publishing. Oprah’s Book Club promoted reading and turned books into immediate best sellers.

Today, Oprah is a billionaire and a media mogul. She launched OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011. And while her 10% investment in Weight Watchers in 2015 has proved that not everything she touches turns to gold instantly — the dieting company faces stiff competition from mobile apps and fitness trackers — she still has millions of loyal fans and high approval ratings.

In the spring of 2018, there was intense speculation about a Winfrey presidential candidacy. Could the Oprah Effect that helped get President Barack Obama elected, do the same for Oprah, who has been a long time political advocate? If she were to run, Trump would face an opponent who understands TV even better than he does.