Yesterday, a friend of mine gave me an old 1986 issue of TV Guide as a joke, and being the cultural anthropologist that I am, I immediately leafed through it to check out the television landscape of yore. Little did I realize that I’d be stumbling on a small treasure trove of classic Oprah print ads. I’m telling you, these things are amazing, and while there are many hilarious advertisements in the magazine (several of which I shall post later today), none compare to what Oprah has to offer. Needless to say, I put my scanner to good use.
After the jump, five Oprah ads from the week of September 27th, 1986 (exactly twenty-three years ago this week)…

First we’re greeted with this cheery announcement that Oprah “really cares!” This is clearly evident in her warm smile, puffy hair, and the ad’s insistence that she’ll “move you to laughter and tears. She’s the kind of person you can have a real relationship with.” And so an army of deluded housewives was born.

Later in the week, the ads all but demand that we befriend Oprah by literally imploring us to “Make A New Friend!” And just in case you’re having doubts about this “gutsy, original lady,” there’s a guilt-inducing shot of Oprah giving us the high-five as if to say “C’mon, be my friend. Up top. Don’t leave me hanging, girl.” How can you say no to that? Of course, maybe she’s just waving… but she’s waving to YOU. Gotta wave back. Bonus points for showing us a glimpse of Oprah’s pleather shoulder pads, all big and round as if she’s hiding a small squab or winter squash underneath.

In this ad, Oprah shows that she’s a good listener and capable of understanding our FRAGILE SELF ESTEEM! Either that or she’s totally zoning out, which is unfortunate because surely that could hurt someone’s feelings and thus their FRAGILE SELF ESTEEM!

Here, an overly enthusiastic Oprah strikes an optimistic pose as she announces that — NEWS FLASH! — relationships change! Never mind that this proclamation is a total non sequitur with the rest of the ad’s final sentence; Oprah’s sheer excitement over this topic is downright infectious. She really DOES care!

But, finally, if you think Oprah is all smiles and happiness, think again. Nothing will bring a frown to that face like the mere mention of…

SATANIC WORSHIP!!!!! Dunh dunh DUNH!!! Yes, Oprah can do many things, and apparently, one of them is saving us from Satan himself. She’s an amazing woman.

Sadly, those were all the Oprah ads I could find. I’ve also posted a selection of my favorite non-Oprah ads. Check it out!

14 replies on “OPRAH IN 1986: Five Amazing Ads”

  1. Cable hadn’t reached Trinidad in 1986. I was more interested in going to the mall than watching TV then anyway 🙂

  2. Thanks for going through all the trouble scanning these ads! They’re AMAZING. I think the reason why I never joined a cult was because my mom caught that episode in the 80s. No joke.

  3. She wasn’t yet going by just Oprah then. I wonder when she dropped her last name. Why the hell do I care?
    BTW, I would just love to come across an old tv guide!

  4. Now I’m all kinds of curious about the owner of the detached ear in the “Relationships Change” ad. What did he or she do to change their relationship such that Oprah would cut off their head. Maybe it was some Satan Worshipper?

  5. She Really Cares, Make a New Friend, Fragile Self Esteem, Relationships Change, and Satanic Worship! I think these were also the titles of that week’s episodes on Full House.

  6. unbelievably sarcastic comments. If you hate her so much why watch?

    These are great so thanks for posting…

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