The Scoop @ MSCO

Overdosed On Oprah

There is one perfect person in the world. At least that’s the way Ms. Oprah Winfrey sees it every time she looks in the mirror.

What she may not know is that zillions of us are so overdosed on her that the situation is becoming toxic. Perhaps fatal.

I know, I know, Ms. Oprah is a talented woman, a world-class entrepreneur. But she always positions herself as angelic, saintly, a kingmaker, an all knowing, and all encompassing model of perfection.
I wonder if she knows of Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, the iconic architect best known for the minimalist “less is more” style and philosophy. If Winfrey is familiar with Mies, she clearly does not ascribe to his world view. When it comes to Oprah, Ms. Perfect believes that more is clearly more. That our lives are surely incomplete unless we are constantly bombarded by her image, her message, her uber worldly magnificence.

I can take this rather hard-edged view of Lady O without knowing her personally because she is not as much a person any longer as she is a brand. And as can happen to any brand, one that is over exposed, over cooked, over pious, over everything–she has outrun her welcome.

Every brand needs to be watered, nourished and polished but it also needs privacy and the mystique that can breed. For all of the years Saint Oprah has been in the spotlight, Meryl Streep has shone as a beacon of talent but one who allows her gifts to speak for themselves and who never, ever imposes a superiority complex on the rest of the world. In polar opposition to the Saviour from Chicago (the city that was also home to Mies), Streep has allowed the audience to define her greatness and to establish her place in the Pantheon.
This weekend I watched Kramer vs Kramer for what must be the 20th time. There is Streep, the divine actress, commanding the screen. We witness, we experience and we know exceptionalism when it crosses our path. We don’t need to be reminded of it every day, in every way. Great marketers and the people/companies we help to build, must benefit from a mix of discipline and opportunism.

Brands, even those with so much substance as Oprah’s once had, burn out. Ask Tom Cruise, ask Martha. Look at the man in the White House. It can happen to the once brightest stars.

Anyone want to see a Mel Gibson movie?

Mark Stevens
MSCO | The Art and Science of Growing Businesses


  1. Kay ∣ December 28th / 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Aren’t you jealous of her? some brands are
    Time-less. I think she is one of those. In actual
    Fact she is legendary.

  2. Dan ∣ January 5th / 2011 at 8:30 pm

    As my father says: “you can’t polish a turd”.

  3. hongadi ∣ October 21st / 2011 at 1:35 am

    hahahaha …..
    that’s called “cronic jealousy”
    The world is divided into those who look at others enviously and those who look at others as a motivational tool

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