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from the L.A. Times

Oprah gives away 2012 Volkswagen Beetles to audience

Oprah Oprah Winfrey is every marketer's dream.

Or more specifically, it is every marketer's dream for the eponymous host of the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to give her teethy, brilliant thumbs up to a product by ordaining it one of her "Favorite Things." On Monday, Winfrey not only gave the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle that seal of approval but also sent her audience into a screaming, hyperventilating frenzy by gifting a new Beetle to each of them (all 275 of them).

Volkswagen also took the opportunity to officially reveal, on air, the silhouette of the new Beetle -- still retro-chic but now with a sportier look and equipped with amenities such as Bluetooth, navigation and ambient lighting. (Audience members weren't actually privy to the whole look of the car, only the silhouette.)

VW also said it would pay for "all taxes and fees" for the newly mobile audience members, which is notable only because of a previous gifting flub. In 2004, Winfrey gave everyone in the audience a new car -- a Pontiac G6 -- but once the tears and hand-clapping subsided, some recipients had trouble accepting the gift because of the taxes that would be owed.

The 2012 Beetle won't roll into showrooms until fall of next year, according to the Oprah Winfrey Show. But by then, the Oprah Winfrey Show and its Midas touch will be off the air after 25 seasons.

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-- Shan Li

Photo: Oprah Winfrey speaks in New York in April. Credit: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

 
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