Oreo Innovation – Go Far and Wide but Have They Stretched Too Far?

It’s hard not to love Oreos.  I mean, what’s not to love about chocolate wafer cookie and sweet cream filling?  Add a little milk, and it truly is a child’s dream snack.

Born in 1912, Oreo cookies are far and away the best-selling cookie franchise in the United States, with global sales at $3.2 billion.  The next best-selling cookie franchise?  Mexico’s Gamesa at $1 billion in sales.

At such scale, it is hard to fathom tinkering too much with such a cash cow brand.  Surprisingly, Oreo brand continues to explore ways to continue to delight its consumers in far and wide places, though many in fairly expected, not-far-from-the-tree places, following five predictable portfolio management tangents.

First, explore adding more or less of the product:

  • Double Stuf Oreosdouble stuf Oreo
  • MOreosMOREO

Second, flavor changes and combinations.  Keep the main product the same but change the flavor:

  • While the list is surprisingly quite long, here are a few more interesting flavors:
    • Candy CornOreo Candy Corn
    • Caramel AppleOreo Caramel Apple
    • LimeadeOreo Limeade
  • Then comes the savory flavor trend that Oreos tapped into fairly heavily:
    • Bacon Cream Oreos (what doesn’t go well with bacon??)bacon-cream-oreo
    • Spam Oreos
    • Cheeseburge OreosOREO cheeseburger

Third, change the shape of your product to create new news:

  • SticksOreo sticks
  • WafersOreo Wafer
  • Soft CakesOreo Cakesters2
  • BrowniesOreo-Brownies

Fourth, go after guilty pleasure/indulgence consumers with:

  • 100 CaloriesOreo-Thin100
  • Healthy Oreos (??)HEALTHY_OREO

I have to hand it to the brand team for testing and launching flavors to see what works, what doesn’t and move on.

Five, go play in someone else’s sandbox and steal their show.

While the recent launch of Oreo Thins should come as no surprise,la--fi-oreo-thins-20150706-001 after such indulgent flavors and stuffings, the idea that these would be targeting “sophisticated” palates seems a bit of a stretch.  The sophisticated cookie market (think Pepperidge Farms) use different shapes, textures, and packaging to communicate premium sophistication with small portions.  The Oreo Thins are just thinner versions of Pepperidge Farms Milanothe same old Oreo cookies we all know and love, but no match to the category expectations they are aimed for.  It is an interesting brand play, but the brand has been dominating the slightly less than healthy cookie indulgence for so long that it will be quite challenging to stretch into this new area with so little product, flavor, texture and packaging modifications to dominate in this new sandbox.  It will just end up further segmenting its own consumers, though hopefully profitably.


About Stephane

Stephane Bardin has a deep understanding of consumers, combining go-to-market strategy and successful execution to drive sales growth. He is a strong marketing executive with strategic consumer and analytical talents in growing brands in the US and internationally. He is a consumer catalyst, producing results for: - Budweiser Beer - McDonald's - Hasbro - Pfizer - Kraft - Starbucks - Bumble Bee - Designer Whey - Aquafina - Tropicana - BRISK - Pepsi and more • Drove Budweiser Beer achievement of #1 foreign beer brand recognition in China. • Developed strategies to re-launch McDonald’s chicken sandwiches. • Developed top-line revenue stream for Bumble Bee in two new markets • Created the best-ever consumer promotion for Unilever brands. Stephane has a reputation for conceptualizing and executing integrated consumer marketing programs that positively impact P&L results. Stephane Bardin is an expert in using new technologies and media to connect consumers with brands and drive bottom-line results. He is a collaborative contributor who is an expert at building brand equity, loyalty, and ROI for highly recognized consumer products and brands. He has demonstrated performance using key levers of marketing to drive strategy and sales growth: advertising vehicles, consumer promotions, consumer/market research/syndicated data, new product development/innovation, multicultural marketing, interactive/digital/mobile/social media, SEO, public relations, shopper marketing, and partnership/alliance marketing. • Positive P&L Impact and Growth • Branding / Equity Building • Strategic Alliances / Partnerships • New Product Development / Innovation • Social Media/Online/Ecommerce Marketing • Cross-functional / Cultural Team Leadership • Strategic Planning /Tactical Execution • Syndicated Data Analysis and BASES • Advertising and Sales Promotion • Shopper Marketing • Trademark Management • Global Marketing Strategy
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