There used to be a time when we talked a lot about brand. This was before we had more social media platforms than we need and thousands of hot new apps and games. But the importance of brand has never diminished. It’s fundamental to how each of us is perceived in the marketplace. So here’s a pretty great brand story about Oreos, one of America’s favorite snack foods. It transcends demographics, because who doesn’t love Oreos?
There’s a dedicated Oreo team that comes up with limited-edition flavors
You may/not have noticed that Oreos periodically introduces new flavors. Their efforts are made public each time Oreo announces a new variety. There’s a special team with a unified goal: How to continue to excite fans and drive growth. The latest: A salmon-colored cookie with green filling, released with Lady Gaga in honor of her 2020 album, Chromatica.
There have been 65 flavors since Oreo’s inception more than 100 years ago
Flavors have included Blueberry Pie, Pina Colada, Banana Split, Waffle & Syrup, Crispy Tiramisù and Carrot Cake.
Novelty Oreos sell reasonably well, but the goal is to drive sales back to the classic
According to Nielsen, sales of flavored, seasonal and other novelty Oreos were up more than 12% over the last three years. But get this: Sales really aren’t the point. Novelty Oreos play a more fundamental role: They help drive consumers back to everyone’s favorite, the 108-year-old original Oreo. The new flavors are ads that will remind us how much we love these cookies. In the same period that sales were up 12% for novelty flavors, sales of the classic were up almost 22%, according to Nielsen.
“When we do it well, it drives our classic Oreo cookie, as well as the sales of the limited edition,” said Justin Parnell, senior director of the Oreo brand.
Many consumers, he said, will “pick up that classic Oreo variety that they love, whether it’s the Original, Golden or Double Stuf, in addition to the limited edition.” Certain flavors have become classics, including the Golden; they’ve transcended novelty to become permanent fixtures in the Oreo pantheon.
Oreos works with chefs to identify food trends
Oreo’s innovation dream team includes marketers, product developers, researchers and food scientists, Mr. Parnell said. The team begins each new Oreo ideation period with a suite of 50 flavor options, then narrows them down to a dozen. New flavors are conceived 18-24 months before release. The team works with chefs “to understand what foods are trending.” I just googled and consumers are curious. Nostalgia is back, exotic spicing and international flavors, Immunity-boosting foods are also hot.
Releases may focus on an event or cause
An example of Oreos doing the right thing: A regular flavored “Triple Stuf” Oreo with tricolor filling, released with the U.S. Olympic Team, continues Oreos’ tradition of celebrating an event or cause.