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Oprah’s magic touch strikes again

By Nina Steele 

Oprah WinfreyThe one thing anyone familiar with the life and work of Oprah Winfrey will agree on, is that, whenever she gets behind a project or product, it takes off in a big way. I certainly remember many authors having their lives changed overnight when their books were selected as part of the Oprah Winfrey book club. Her standing is such that, anything she associates herself with is automatically deemed worthy of people’s attention and more importantly, of them parting with some of their cash.

That same magic touch is credited for turning the fortunes of Weight Watchers around. The company had sought a collaboration with Oprah before and were finally successful in 2015, when she agreed to act as an ambassador for the brand. That her struggles with her weight are well documented, brings an element of credibility to the partnership. Who better to hire when you want to reach millions of people trying to lose weight?

Since Oprah joined Weight Watchers, the company’s shares are said to be “worth more than 13 times their value” compared to the value of the shares at the start of the collaboration, 3 years ago. Not only that, by buying 10% of the shares herself when she agreed to join Weight Watchers, Oprah has seen her already sizeable wealth increase even more.

At the beginning of the collaboration in 2015, Ray Debbane, the chairman of the board of directors said the following about what the company expected to gain from the partnership: “Oprah is a force of nature in connecting with people on a very personal level to live inspired lives. This partnership will accelerate our transformation and will meaningfully expand our ability to impact many millions of people worldwide”.

Well, with an additional 1 million people joining Weight Watchers last year alone, thanks to the Oprah effect, there is no prize for guessing how the management team feels right now. Because Oprah’s struggle with her weight has become a story in itself, it’s safe to predict that, for as long as the collaboration lasts, Weight Watchers will continue to benefit.

No matter what some of her detractors may say, and they are quite a few, particularly in view of the current political climate, Oprah Winfrey’s star is shining as brightly as it did, at the height of the Oprah Winfrey show. She is blessed with the kind of pulling power, only a few celebrities can claim. People just love her, and they are willing to take her word for it, which in business terms is invaluable.

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