Procter & Gamble to back soap Oprah

Oprah Whinfrey that is, whose forthcoming Oprah Whinfrey Network, backed by Discovery Communications, has secured around $100m of advertising over three years from giant advertiser Procter & Gamble.

Intriguingly Ad Age reports that the deal includes the ability for P&G to “incorporate its marketing messages” into OWN programmes. Now this might be Oprah sailing into view clutching a pack of Tide or washing her hair in Pantene. Or it could be some sort of reversal to the famous radio ‘soap operas’ of the 1930s when all manner of stars appeared in radio dramas sponsored by the men from Cincinnati and plugged its products mercilessly.

$100m isn’t a great deal for an advertiser that spends $2.7bn a year but it’s still a pretty convincing vote of faith in a yet-to-be broadcast channel that even Oprah’s fervent admirers, and there are millions of them, might find a little exhausting.

And it creates the enticing possibility of more such celebrity-based channels. Any takers for the Posh & Becks channel or maybe the Jonathan Ross channel, Wossy being without a broadcast deal currently.

Terrifying but definitely possible.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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