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100 years of Oreo: How the iconic cookie brand is using social media


April 6, 2012

Oreo, “Milk’s Favorite Cookie,” celebrates its Centennial year this spring. In honor of the occasion and for the New York portion of the Social Media Week conference, Kraft and 360i Foods presented a discussion titled, “How Oreo Is Using Social to Celebrate 100  Years of Brand Love,” on Feb. 14 at 360i headquarters.

The session discussed how Oreo is connecting with people via social media and building a loyal community of fans and followers in online spaces. Beth Reilly, digital marketing lead, Kraft, and Sarah Hofstetter, president, 360i Foods, provided a case study on how to use social to “build brand love.” 

“Oreo is not so much about snacking as it is about sharing childlike moments of delight,” said Hofstetter.  “These are social moments inherently, special to audiences and customers.”

The Oreo case study focused on the “Oreo Moments” gallery, the Guinness World Record and its 100th Birthday in March, and explained how the storied cookie brand stays relevant in social media. Oreo aimed to empower customers to communicate moments, put consumers at the heart of marketing and invite them to share in the magic.

Hofstetter said that 360i and Kraft had to find out how to bring the campaign to center stage as people were eating Oreos across the world but in different social settings.

“Brands today need to act as media companies and invite people to share content,” she said, adding that after this revelation, Oreo’s Facebook community grew from 2 million to 60 million fans.

Oreo realized that sharing across platforms was key.  “Don’t treat them as matching luggage; all people and platforms are different,” Hofstetter said. “Social media is a conversation, not a one-night stand.”

The company hosted a Guinness World Record event last February that united fans from across the globe and aimed to get the most Likes on a Facebook post in 24 hours.  They promoted this through their social media platforms and the Oreo website.  Various online media outlets and local press soon picked up on the story too.

“The marketing becomes the messaging,” Hofstetter said, as Oreo earned 15 million media impressions.

Adaptability is key in these situations because a twist brings attention to an effort.

The Guinness event catapulted Oreo into the spotlight — it received 25,000 Likes in the first 60 seconds of launching publicly and achieved a total of 56,615 to win the Guinness World Record.

Social listening opportunities

For Kraft, “The single biggest opportunity is in social — fostering different languages and cultures,” Reilly said. “We have more than 24 million fans talking about Oreo in 100 countries.”

Kraft and similar companies must keep tabs on Pinterest and other burgeoning social networks because of the conversations about food, Reilly added.

As for existing social mediums, “Twitter is about relevancy. It’s for conversations and news and customer service, but not as much about a community as Facebook is,” Hofstetter said, adding that it is important how the customer discovers you and experiences your brand online. “Listening is key — you are looking for opportunities to join cultural relevance.”

Hofstetter noted that personal relationships are an integral part of the Oreo brand. If you give Oreos to five different kids, then they will eat them in different ways, she said. It’s something that parents experienced when they were younger and can now share with their children. 

Amy Jacques Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.
Email: amy.jacques at prsa.org



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