A Marketing Twist To Connecting With Consumers

I’m a big fan of cookies, particularly homemade cookies, but this year I’ve become a loyal fan of Oreo’s cookies.  I’ve been hooked in by Oreo’s 100th Anniversary campaign with their new twist, a daily twist launching daily ads based on their “twist, lick and dunk” ritual.

Oreo is known as the best selling cookie of the 20th century (a testament to the brand’s longevity), selling more than 12 Billion Oreo cookies each year in more than 100 countries.  Kraft Foods has doubled their Oreo revenue in 4 years (from $1 Billion in 07′ to $2 Billion in 11′) in a time when health food is on the rise.  This sales growth is indicative of recent consumer trends with a focus on iconic, classic brands and affordable indulgences as we see our pocket books shrinking.

The 100th Anniversary celebrates Oreo’s first sale dating back to March 6, 1912.  The campaign slogan is ”Celebrate the Kid Inside” drawing on the fun of eating Oreo’s within those carefree moments of time targeting  kids to nostalgic adults who have a special relationship with the cookie since childhood.

The brand shared a steady stream of some of the most creative, fun and engaging content with consumers that I’ve seen in awhile.  This included the first fully integrated worldwide campaign, an interactive website (Oreo Birthday, with 4.6M consumers sharing their Oreo moment), large emphasis on social media, sharing & personalization with tie-ins on Facebook (30.4M Likes) & Twitter, online, TV, print (leveraging pop culture events from the last 10 decades), mobile marketing (effective because they tied in multiple digital experiences – video, web & social media plus they targeted a specific consumer that is willing to pay for mobile content, Hulu Plus iphone app), PR, music concerts by hot country music bands, consumer tie-ins that invited their own customers to be a part of the celebration through contests, live events (NASCAR, ”flash mob’s”), and even a limited edition “Birthday Cake” Oreo Cookie.

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And on top of all this, as the campaign came to a close, the last 100th ad was to be crowdsourced coming from a virtual advertising office in Time Square.  Crowds could submit and vote on concepts IN REAL TIME.  Fans watched the final ad being developed which was a hand imprint noting the anniversary of the first high-five.

When I look back at the entire Oreo campaign, what sticks out is the focus on fun, sharing and nostalgia.  What Oreo decided not to do was the hard sell, focusing on product features and getting consumers to buy Oreos (with coupons, BOGO’s and the like) which is typical of product marketing.  Connecting with consumers on a personal level proved to be an effective approach for the Oreo brand team.  Today’s consumers want to have a participatory experience with brands, where they help shape the story in real time.  Oreo did an outstanding job of mastering this by giving consumers power and control across many different platforms throughout the globe in a very relevant, personal way.  Thanks Oreo, and marketers, take note

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