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Oprah Winfrey gives away nearly 300 new cars

By @ 09/13/88 in September

USPS13STA022cSeptember 13, 2004

In what one critic called “one of the greatest promotional stunts in the history of television,” talk show host Oprah Winfrey gave away a Pontiac G-6 sedan to every one of her audience members. The giveaway comprised of 276 cars, which each cost $28,500, and they were given to individuals who producers deemed in need and deserving of the gift. Oprah’s stunt was not without controversy: for one, Pontiac donated the cars and paid the sales tax. Oprah taped a segment at the company’s factories to learn more about the new car model, so her “giveaway” was largely done for marketing standards. Also, guests who received the car still had to pay nearly $6,000 in state and federal income tax. Later, Oprah gave an audience full of teachers a $13,000 purse – replete with new laptops, home appliances, televisions, luxury goods, and more – with a $2,500 check to help cover the income tax bill that the gift would necessitate. Oprah’s giveaways became some of the most popular episodes in her show’s history. And for her part, Oprah has continued to inspire others as one of the most successful self-made black women in history.

If you could give someone a special gift, what would you give, to whom would you give it, and why?

General Motors Chevelle and Pontiac Trademarks used under license to the USPS.