Ten products that Oprah made popular

The Oprah Winfrey Show aired its final original episode on May 25, 2011, signalling not only the end of a popular television show, but the end of a media phenomenon that catapulted obscure businesses to unexpected heights and increased sales beyond their owners’ wildest dreams. Known as “The Oprah Effect”, it was known to turn a struggling company into a commercial success after a single appearance on her show. Of course, the converse was also true if a product got bad-mouthed by Oprah….

Some of the food-related products that were put on the map by “The Oprah Effect”

Garrett Popcorn

Garrett Popcorn
Chicago’s Garrett Popcorn was featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2002 and 2005. The company has always enjoyed steady popularity since its 1949 founding, and lines often stretch around the block at its West Madison Street location. Their “Chicago Mix” flavor combines caramel and cheese and after it appeared on Oprah, Garrett’s status as a local business was over.

On the afternoon of the 2002 broadcast, the company received 100,000 hits on their website, and after one month they saw a 100% increase in their sales. They extended their daily production from eight hours a day to 24 hours a day, and they’ve never gone back. In 2010, Garrett showed its gratitude by creating a limited edition tin for the show, stuffed to the brim with the cheese and caramel concoction that had made them famous.

Take the Cake
We Take the Cake
Many companies have seen their profits increase after an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. However, in the case of We Take the Cake, the appearance literally saved the company from bankruptcy. In 2002, Lori Karmel bought a struggling bakery, and after two years of toil, she had a profit of $19 to show for it. However, later that year, We Take the Cake’s Gourmet Key Lime Bundt Cake was featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things , and the store’s phone lines were swamped within hours.

Since then, We Take the Cake has experienced success . Its creations have been featured on the Food Network shows Road Tasted and Unwrapped , and in the pages of In Style magazine. Their cakes are also sold at Whole Foods in Florida and through the Neiman Marcus website. Karmel put it best when she said, “Nobody can put a company on the map the way Oprah Winfrey can.”

Fat Witch Brownies
Patricia Helding founded Fat Witch Brownies in 1991. The Manhattan-based bakery saw its fortunes change for the better in 2002, when their Brownie Gift Tin was chosen to appear on Oprah’s Favorite Things .

“We were lucky to be on Oprah’s Favorite Things , and overnight things changed,” Helding said. “The phone did not stop ringing. You could not keep up with it. It took us six months to get through all the orders.”

Kyocera Ceramic Knife
Oprah Winfrey was given the Kyocera ceramic knife as a gift by celebrity chef and television personality Ming Tsai. Ever since then, she claims that it’s the only knife that she will ever use in the kitchen. The knives are razor sharp and because they’re ceramic, they won’t rust.

The Kyocera Advanced Ceramic knife 2-piece gift set was showcased in the 2010 edition of Oprah’s Favorite Things . The national cookware chain that sells the cutlery, Sur La Table, saw a 740% increase in their sales when the knife set was mentioned on the show.

Other non-food products include the I-Pad, the Kindle, Spanx slimming underwear, Carol’s Daughter beauty products, LAFCO luxury soaps and fragrances, and UGG boots.

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