Oprah Winfrey is going on the road again, but this time she’s doing it with Weight Watchers Reimagined in the name of wellness motivation.
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The former talk show host and chief of her own TV network that’s aptly named OWN, is moving forward in the inspirational health arena starting in 2020. According to Oprah and the Weight Watchers’ website on Wednesday, the tour will be known as, “Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus.”
Chris Winfield, the co-founder of the media consultancy Superconnector Media, sees the tour as a logical move.
“Oprah is the queen of all media, and she has long focused on wellness topics such as mental and physical wellbeing, so her move into the wellness sphere is not a real surprise, especially given her partnership with Weight Watchers,” Winfield explained.
This is not her first foray into live events, in 2014, she fronted “The Life You Want” tour which was seen as a success, according to a report from The New York Times. Ticket prices ranged from $199 to $999.
This venture is a nine-city tour, which starts Jan. 4th in Ft. Lauderdale and concludes March 7th in Denver.
Marketing experts say that this move comes at a time when brands are strategically refreshing themselves with “activations” that aren’t in-your-face marketing ploys. According to the firm Econsultancy, an activation is: “The process of making your brand known to people, increasing awareness and engagement through some kind of brand experience.”
FOX Business checked in with media experts regarding Oprah’s upcoming tour with Weight Watchers.
Why are celebrities moving into the live activation space?
According to Christina Daves, owner of PR for Anyone, celebrities are switching gears business-wise when it comes to live events “because they can draw the crowds. People want to get to ‘know them in person. It's so difficult to get butts in seats but celebrities have the advantage of their star power.”
As we've seen with Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop, there's a lot of eyes and ears on the wellness arena, which, next to self-care is the buzzword of the day. This wellness tour will expand [Oprah’s] reach into areas and audiences where she hasn't delved before in depth. It will also get her in front of a live audience again, which is where she connects best with most of the world.
Is there something specific modern consumers are looking for in their live events?
“I believe it's being able to connect with the expert because it's in-person and face-to-face,” Daves said.
Jen Gottlieb, the other co-founder Superconnector Media, said, “The modern consumer is savvy, smart and is hungry not only for more connection at their live events, but to take actionable takeaways and really feel connected when they get back home.”
Gottlieb added, “They read all the new news and know all the wellness keywords. What they really want is to connect with Oprah, and interact with her magic.”
What does this wellness tour do to Oprah’s brand and image?
It just improves it. Oprah's reputation is solid and everything she touches turns to gold, even with the dip in OWN.” Daves pointed out.
Daves went on to add that Oprah still has her brand and it remains a powerful force with “people who are willing to do what Oprah tells them—read this book, try this product, use this diet or meal plan.”
Conversely, Gottlieb said, “Celebrities, who used to be untouchable, are now realizing how important it is to really connect with their audience. Fans are demanding this access to their stars like never before. You see it when they respond on Twitter and Instagram to their fans, and how statements are now posted on these forums rather than through their publicist and a chosen outlet.”
The live activation space is yet another stage for them to perform on, yet also really connect with people. Much like a concert, there is a magic that comes from being in the same room as your favorite star that can't be replaced by television or a computer.
It can be hard to sell out event space. What should Oprah do in her tour to ensure her success?
Daves added that implementing pre-event live video to speak directly to audiences is one way Oprah’s team can build excitement around the tour. “When you are speaking to your camera, it's as if you are looking eye to eye with the person on the other end,” Daves said.
She added, “Even though there could be thousands, [Oprah's] relating to each viewer individually.”
Winfield agreed that Oprah is “guaranteed to sell out.”
He also said that Oprah and her team just have to utilize their connections to be successful, whether it be on social media, her SuperSoul Conversations podcast, website, newsletter or O, The Oprah Magazine.
Winfield added, “Since she does have one of the biggest networks in the world, I’m sure news will travel fast if she utilizes all of her connections. Look at us—we are talking about it before we even know how to get in or buy tickets. It’s working for her brilliantly.”
Members of Weight Watchers will get access to presale tickets from Sept. 9 to 12. The general public will be able to get tickets starting on Sept. 13.
Proceeds from the tour with go to Weight Watchers Good, a philanthropic initiative that brings healthy food to underserved communities.
This article has been updated to reflect a headline change that refers to the correct naming convention of Weight Watchers.