Oprah Winfery’s car giveaway on Monday’s new-season opener of her King World Productions-distributed talker proved the promotional gift that keeps on giving.
Not only did GM donate the 276 cars Oprah gave away to her studio audience, but other media handed the surprise hand-out plenty of free publicity.
The giveaway got local and national print and broadcast news mentions, including by Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren, who said on her Monday night show show that she would be giving away bumper stickers instead of cars.
Echoing that “pauper” version of the big bucks giveaway, CNN’s Paul Begala told his Crossfire audience Tuesday that they would each be getting a CNN campaign button, then echoed Oprah, shouting, “you get a button, you get a button!”
Co-host Robert Novak followed that with the apocryphal news that the next day’s anchor, James Carville and Tucker Carlson would be giving away Chrysler Crossfire automobiles.
The giveaway, which had been promoted only as a surprise, helped drive the debut broadcast to a 10.1 rating.24 share in Nielsen numbers, its best season debut since 1996.