Oprah's endorsement can move mountains. Well, except if they are Pontiac G6s. I happened to work for Macy's in Domestics (the department where bedding, among other items, is carried) when one of Oprah's first product endorsements hit the collective zeitgeist of her viewers and the flood of consumers desperately seeking "Oprah Sheets" poured into Macy's stores. Some folks at BYU worked some quantitative analysis magic and documented the "Oprah Effect" on her book club books. No question, the woman's got juice.
Today on her show, Oprah shared some of her favorite "diet" snacks. The second of four was a fat-free, sugar-free frozen chocolate novelty. Oprah refused to name the brand since the didn't give her any money. (As an aside - Oprah's phrasing was unfortunate as it implied pure greed. Consistent with her brand, placements have always been implied to be paid for either in gifts to her audience - as with her annual "Favorite Things" show or in donations to her Angel Network charity.) However, on Oprah's website the frozen treats are referred to generically as a "fudgesicle" which is a vowel away from Unilever's registered trademark.
For the next two snacks, Oprah dropped brand names like crazy (even though her sidekick, trainer Bob Greene affirmed after each mention that she wasn't paid by these brands either.) In a free product placement windfall for Kraft Foods*, the three brands she proceeded to call out are all owned by the company. First her "Grape Nuts Sundae" called for both Post Grape Nuts and Post Spoon Size Shredded Wheat cereals. And although she correctly referred to the product used in her fourth snack as unsweetened gelatin, she blew her brand-free recipe by proclaiming it a "Jell-O Sundae."
Kraft Foods is impressive in their use of the web (although, I am disappointed to see that the Jell-O site doesn't render properly in Firefox and there is a prominent typo on the homepage.) I suspect that the smart folks in Tarrytown and Glenview with no doubt have the Kraft Kitchens whipping up recipes, posting them on the respective brand and global Kraft Foods sites and figuring how they fit into their partner's South Beach Diet in no time flat.
*Full Disclosure: I previously worked for Kraft Foods on the Jell-O brand.