Oprah Winfrey’s “brand” is still strong enough to give a huge boost to any book or other product she endorses, but Oprah “has taken some notable dings lately, largely of her own making,” Ad Age magazine observes.
Oprah’s endorsement of Barack Obama for president raised her “unfavorable” ratings, allowing her to be overtaken by daytime talk show rival Ellen DeGeneres as the most popular celebrity in the U.S. in a Harris Interactive poll, Ad Age reports.
A Gallup poll conducted shortly after Oprah announced her backing of Obama found that her “favorable” rating fell by 8 percentage points, to 66 percent from 74 percent in January of last year, while her “unfavorable” rating surged by more than half, from 17 percent to 26 percent.
And ratings for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” have dropped nearly 7 percent this year, Newsmax’s Insider Report recently noted.
According to the New York Times, the Obama endorsement alienated some of the middle-aged white women who make up the bulk of Oprah’s TV audience, many of whom supported Obama’s rival Hillary Clinton.
And revelations about Obama’s longtime relationship with controversial pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright no doubt called some attention to the fact that Oprah at one time belonged to Wright’s congregation.
Oprah also sparked criticism when she selected new-age religion guru Eckart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” for her book club earlier this year.
One of Tolle’s assertions is that the New Testament contains distortions of Jesus’ teachings.
Since Oprah’s endorsement, the club has reportedly gained more than 1 million members, and Oprah’s Web site has logged over 30 million streams and downloads of an online seminar related to the book.
“But it also angered some conservative Christians and inspired the American Family Association to attack the once-unassailable Ms. Winfrey,” according to Ad Age.
“All of this seems to lead to one question for marketers: Is it worth the trouble?”
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