‘The Oprah Effect’ lives: Brands get boost from being on her ‘Favorite Things’ list

Even Oprah is an Amazon user.

This year’s “Favorite Things,” her annual collection of extravagant gifts, are being made available for the first time as a special collection on Amazon. The curated landing page is organized under several categories, like “The Techie” and “The Fashionista,” with most of the 87 items available for Prime express shipping.

Oprah described this year’s list as “the most versatile and fun ever” on the page, a lofty claim since she’s been doing it for more than 20 years. As evidenced in this classic Saturday Night Live sketch, the segment started on her top-rated syndicated talk show and sent housewives into a froth over $30 jars of honey.

Brands lucky enough to be selected to be on the list benefitted from a phenomenon known as “The Oprah Effect.” In one extreme example, a product called the LightWedge (a book light) saw its sales soar from $3,700 a day to $90,000 when Oprah added it to her favorite list in 2007.

While Oprah’s talk show has ended, her affection for $95 cutting boards hasn’t. This year’s list was splashed across her self-titled magazine, on “Good Morning America” and of course, Amazon. Notably, the $180 Amazon Echo is slyly placed on the list.

The online retailer didn’t respond to Digiday’s request for comment of how this came together, but it’s a win for everyone involved, most notably the small brands on the list.

For A&B American Style, whose $24 Pepper Sauce set was on the list, a representative told Digiday that its sales had a “substantial increase” this week. The same goes for Emi Jay, which had its $68 pullover that reads “Namastay in Bed” placed on it, telling us that it had an “overwhelming response.” Omaha Steaks said its sales ticked up, too.

(All three companies declined to break out specific sales data.)

Per usual, fans were ecstatic about the release:

The overall sentiment toward Oprah and her list were “outrageously positive,” according to social analytics firm Brandwatch, with 89 percent of tweets being positive.

“Oprah is a star that demands the social dedication of pop stars 40 years her junior. She has the original, and one of the most dedicated, fan bases on social media,” said analyst Kellan Terry. “This is an impressive feat, in and of itself, considering many of her fans are not considered to be among the more social-savvy demographics.”

Long live Oprah, and her $45 challah-baked menorahs.

Images via O: The Oprah Magazine. 


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