What do you get when you combine 6,000 women, Oprah Winfrey and a 3-day celebration in New York City? Some surreal, jaw-dropping, crack-up moments along with a whole lot of chaos and estrogen-fuelled drama. Oh… and a city-wide jump in shoe sales.
A one woman show, media maven and brand, Oprah Winfrey is quite possibly the most influential woman on the planet. And like so many, seeing her live was on my bucket-list. So when O Magazine’s Live Your Best Life Weekend in New York came across my radar, I jumped at it and so did some of my friends.
So there we were in the city that never sleeps and neither did we really, squeezing sight-seeing, shopping and signature cocktails in with a very full event schedule. From a champagne welcome reception and an inspiring line of “Lifeshop” headliners (Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, etc.) to a gala at Radio City Music Hall and a Sunday charity walk, it was non-stop fun.
- Oprah live. Mind-blowingly brilliant. And after following her for years, it was like watching a girlfriend on stage.
- Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert’s opener. So real, so cool… that woman oozes how to live in the present.
- A great welcome kit, spectacular collateral materials and sponsors like L’Oreal that rocked the gift bags.
- There was one glaring gap in this Oprah brand experience – the logistics at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center were beyond bad. From mismanaged line-ups and event coordination to banana battles in the food lines and near-riots over a lack of bathrooms forcing urinal usage by some angry sisters (yes you read that right), that facility was ill-prepared for 6,000 women (and 10 men). My friend’s and I laugh about it now, but it was truly like an all-day episode of Survivor.
The weekend also marked the 10-year anniversary of O Magazine which continues to set the bar on page-turning layouts and visual platforms along with compelling content, life stories and a just-right balance of tasteful advertising.
But that’s just one piece of Oprah’s media empire.
There’s Oprah & Friends satellite radio, Oprah’s Book Club, the multi-layered Oprah.com, a new reality show and with September 2011 marking 25 years and the last for the Oprah Winfrey Show, she’s launching OWN Network.
Whether relaxing in my living room or as a proud, live participant in magical NYC it’s been a wild ride to be part of the Oprah brand experience. And it’s not over yet.
HERE’S THE (STANDING O) STICKING POINT:
When you’re #1, you’re an easy target.
News this week talked about how the Oprah Winfrey Show has had a 7% decline in viewership – which on 9 million is hardly a crisis.
But rather than focus on how her O-Factor has changed lives, saved lives, got millions reading, and raised over $80 million to fund 200+ charity grants in the US and 30 other countries, let’s focus on a dip/blip in ratings on a show that’s winding down (??).
And for the record, it’s winding down to make way for a ground-breaking, new network that’s poised to make what the Oprah Winfrey Show did to daytime television look like training-wheels.
Maybe the real story is how we’ve only scratched the surface on Oprah’s enduring influence.