Once upon a time, Oprah Winfrey was an American hero. She could do no wrong.
Born to an unwed teenage mother in Kosciusko, Mississippi, Oprah beat the odds and worked her way up the entertainment food chain. She scored parts in movies. She shared her gift for gab on a hugely popular talk show. And the fact that she constantly suffered from weight problems -- like many in her target audience -- made the media mogul even more human, more likable. (Compare/contrast with Sally Jesse Raphael, if you like.)
But Oprah is not built of Teflon. We learned that back in in 2004, when she gave away dozens of Pontiac G6s to elated audience members, who weren't quite so giddy when they realized that they'd be responsible for paying hefty taxes on their new rides.
In subsequent years, Oprah has rolled out the giveaways a little more carefully, but she's always been generous. Not so long ago, she was handing out keys to the stylin' new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.
Of course, that was before Oprah veered off to create her own network -- conveniently called OWN. And it was even longer before the OWN network began hemorrhaging money.
These days, Oprah & Co. are playing things a little closer to the bone. Which may explain why, instead of giving away cars that everyone wants, Oprah is now giving away a Smart fortwo.
Just one of them, by the way.
What's Your OQ?
It's all part of a promotion called "What's Your OQ?" (Which we believe stands for "Oprah Quotient".) And it's not targeted at the general public, just folks who work at ad agencies.
The gist is simple: account execs and other agency types answer a few questions about O magazine -- presumably to raise awareness about how awesome it is to advertise on O's four-color, glossy pages. Get those answers right, and you're entered into a sweepstakes with a series of monthly prizes and a grand prize of a 2013 Smart fortwo.
Which is fine, we suppose, given the contest's limited audience. But then there's this little nugget, found on the contest page:
What agency has the highest OQ in the country? Show us your collective O smarts by getting everyone at your agency to play each month. The agency that’s at the top of the Lead-O-board on 10.31.12 will win a keg party from us. If you’re in New York, we’ll host it at the top of the Hearst Tower.
A keg party? Really?
And at Hearst Tower?
This is exactly the sort thing that could pull the Symbionese Liberation Army out of hiding.