When Sarah Palin came bounding out of the gate like an eager philly at the Republican National Convention in 2008, it was easy to picture her becoming a spokesmodel for LensCrafters or Crest Whitestrips if the vice presidential gig didn’t pan out. Little did America know then that Sarah Palin had bigger moose to fry than hawking someone else’s brand. As well documented in a recent New York Magazine article, Sarah Palin has become her own brand, a brand that may turn out to be bigger than Oprah’s and Martha Stewart’s combined.
Sarah, Oprah and Martha: Branded Women
The Sarah Palin brand follows in the giant footsteps of such superstars as Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, both of whom are role models and opinion leaders for specific demographic groups of women. Oprah’s brand of new age spiritualism, concern for others and continous self-improvement-mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually-has spawned her own magazine; website; and cable TV station (OWN), upon which her new talk show is slated to air. The mere selection by Oprah of a book for her Oprah Book Club merits a reprinting of the book with an Oprah imprint on the cover and a virtually guaranteed flight to the New York Times Best Seller List.
Martha Stewart, despite spending time in stripes in prison (not a particularly stylish look for the waspy Connecticut blonde), remains the arbiter of style for many American women. Whether it’s cooking, decorating, entertaining, dressing or even raising chickens, Martha Stewart does everything with such flair and panache that if Martha declared it was okay to wear white after Labor Day, millions of American women would go out shopping for white cashmere sweaters and white wool pants.
Sarah: The Magazine?
Of the three women-Oprah, Martha and Sarah-Sarah Palin is the only one not to have her own magazine. This oversight is not likely to persist very long since the market for a Sarah magazine is huge. Where else could you find moose meatloaf recipes, child rearing advice on how to raise children when you’re never home (including tips on how to raise celibate teenagers) and clever suggestions on how to get other people to finance your wardrobe.
Although Sarah Palin is not yet known as just Sarah (her name is almost pronounced as a four syllable word, sarahpalin), the marketability of almost everything she touches is virtually assured. Her smiling face could be on the cover of cereal boxes or lunch meat and certain people would buy them because they admire her so much. The Learning Channel (TLC) is even going to feature Sarah Palin on a television show about Alaska’s natural beauty called Sarah Palin’s Alaska, despite her reputation among environmentalists for threatening the very wildlife, terrain and waterways she will promote to tourists. It may not be long before Sarah Plain has her own television chat show like Oprah or her own publicly traded stock like Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
Remember When She Was Sarah Who?
Regardless of whether one likes Sarah Palin or despises everything she stands for, Sarah Palin’s soaring success in less than two years from Sarah Who? to Sarah Palin the brand is almost unprecedented in the velocity at which her star has ascended. Just as there are distinct markets for Coke and Odwalla Juice, it is clear that Sarah Palin fills a void that was left by Oprah and Martha, and her brand will only continue to increase in value as the seemingly insatiable demand for everything Sarah is fulfilled.