I’m not a huge Oprah fan, but I absolutely do admire her ambition, vision, and rise to the top of the world from very humble beginnings. She fought for it. She deserves it.
I also admire the way she changed her show from being one of many, like Ricky Lake and Jerry Springer, that got down in the muck and mire of base humanity and exploited these people in the name of entertainment. How she turned that train around to become a show about optimism, awareness, authenticity, and courage is a feat not to be ignored. She got people reading. She got people thinking about their mental and physical health. She did a lot of good.
And that’s what blows my mind about the Oprah’s Favourite Things show. This woman built her (new) brand on “finding and living your passion” and “honouring your most authentic life.” She’s done a number of shows about financial independence and responsibility. I recall one being about the growing issue of debt among Americans and how that has got to change.
But she throws all of that away whenever she does these favourite things shows. I watched ten minutes of the 2010 show that aired on Friday, Nov 19. I made it as far as the $450 cashmere sweater. Before that there was a camera worth a lot more.
The audience members were jumping up and down, hugging each other and crying. They were all just so thrilled to be going home with all this stuff. It was nothing short of an obscene greed-fest, an orgy of materialism.
That same day (Fri. Nov. 19th), I’d done a presentation to a client about ad writing and how important it was to identify your brand, and live it at all levels. The group I was talking to really got it. They totally understood that everything turned on brand, not just the ads they put out there, but the actual physical environment they created for their customers and the service they delivered.
I wish Oprah had been there. Maybe she’d have seen that this favourite thing stuff (which she then turned around and did AGAIN on Mon. Nov. 22) is absolutely off brand. What does she really stand for? Authentic, responsible living? Or grabbing as much stuff as you can? After the ten minutes I could stomach on Friday, I have my answer.