Monday, April 2, 2012

Oreo's 100th: An Anniversary Campaign with Taste

I like Oreo cookies.  If I believed it’s possible to actually love a food item, I might be in that extreme fringe of Oreo cookie enthusiasts.  We rarely have them in the house because they wouldn’t last very long.  

I’m not one with a preference, creamy middle or crunchy cookie.  It’s all good.  And, yes, I would agree with the brand’s slogan that Oreo cookies are “Milk’s favorite cookie.”

But what I’m really kind of psyched about is how Nabisco has decided to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the Oreo.  Just about any PR person will tell you, it’s never good when an executive walks into a conference room and asks the communications team to come up with ideas for celebrating any kind of anniversary.

The truth is, when it comes to the news media, no one really cares about the anniversary.  A number’s a number and journalists tend to hate press releases and PR activities all centered on the numerical benchmark, which really only means something to the founder or the founding family.

But what the media does care about, and everyone else does too, is what the company is doing to mark the anniversary.  The events and activities surrounding the anniversary are the stories that in the end come to define the successful use of an anniversary as the centerpiece of a PR campaign.  And the more creative the company is in implementing such an event, the more buzz the PR effort can generate.

Here are some of the things Oreo did to celebrate its 100th: a special Web site with lots of interactivity; tons of social media tie-ins on Facebook and Twitter; special events and music concerts by hot country music bands; consumer tie-ins that invited their own customers to be a part of the celebration through contests, social media and live special events (including localized “flash mobs”); and even a “birthday cake” Oreo cookie that had a special cream filling that was created to taste like icing on a birthday cake.

That campaign has many facets, targeting demographics from kids to nostalgic adults who have had a special relationship with the cookie since childhood.    All of the activities worked well, but equally important, somehow the brand managed not to overdo it or cross into the lines of questionable taste.  It seems that such feats are now more difficult than ever.

Doing PR around an anniversary is never easy, but Oreo has proven that with the right amount of creativity, and a certain commitment to spending, it can be done right.

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