Let me start by saying I love Oreo cookies. Despite the fact I am theoretically a grown up, I still instinctively open the cookie and lick the cream from the inside. The cookies are delicious, but we are not going to talk about their taste. Today we are going to talk about the Oreo digital marketing strategy.
When the lights went out during the 2013 Superbowl, the social team at Oreo got our attention with a simple, funny and elegant message distributed first through Twitter and then Facebook. During an event where advertisers easily spend more $1 million on production and media buys for 30 seconds of our attention, Oreo created something we still talk about three years later.
Structured Digital Marketing Strategy
This ad was not a fluke. It was completely in line with the externally focused marketing they had already been doing. Using their 100th anniversary as a jumping off point they created a series of 100 Facebook updates based on trending topics and current events. Their objective was to make Oreo relevant, not to children and their moms, but to social media savvy, young adults.
To reach a consumer segment who probably thought they had out grown the product, Oreo looked beyond their brand and product to the world in which their customers lived. Many of the status updates featured images of products they didn’t sell like red colored filling to celebrate the landing of the Mars rover or yellow to honor Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France or rainbow filling to celebrate Pride.
This project took a tremendous amount of resources. There were writers for the clever headlines and designers who created the visuals. And there had to be researchers, who scoured news and trivia to find something fun and relevant every single day. That discipline meant they were ready when the lights went out
Was it worth it? Oreo garnered over 231 million media impressions from over 2,600 articles. They increased their Facebook fans by over a million and increased their Facebook engagement by 195%. They also increased their share rate by 280%, with each post being shared an average of 1,472 times.(source: oursocialtimes.com)
The Rest of the Story
This is a story every marketing professor loves to tell their students. It is about how Oreo became a social media success. So when I got ready to teach a class in digital marketing strategy at University of Indianapolis, I hopped on to the Oreo Facebook page to see what they were up to. And I was disappointed. It is clear they still have a creative team in place who has moved on from clever graphics to video, but they have lost their edge.
The videos are too product focused, Instead of looking out to the world and trying to become a part of it, Oreo has turned inward, trying to make us part of their world. While the production value is really high, the message is a little cheesy. The influence of sales and product teams is clear in the very heavy handed approach which seems more like an advertisement than a social media update
Maybe the mom of a twenty something will watch this and sigh, but I can’t see that young hipster being motivated to put down his home brewed beer and tacos for an Oreo and a glass of milk. In fact, on Twitter, where this audience is more likely to hang out, the campaign seems to flounder with few interactions per update..
So as I worked on my lecture, the message was different from the one I anticipated delivering. I talked about how important it is to keep your product and sales teams out of social media. They should focus their energy on advertising where push marketing works and let the social teams be social.
Roundpeg is an Indianapolis content marketing firm.