The people who make the popular Oreo cookies want to use the Super Bowl to introduce a new twist on an old favorite.
A 30-second ad that airs in the second quarter of CBS’ February 11 broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII suggests that people throughout history have used the way they twist open an Oreo to make critical decisions that have affected our world. In one scene, guards allow the Trojan Horse to enter the city fo Troy. In another, “Kardashians” clan chief Kris Jenner opens an Oreo to help her determine if her family should be in a new reality series.
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“We know that many people, when they eat Oreos, they twist it apart and eat it,” says Michelle Deignan, vice president of U.S. Oreo operations, part of Mondelez International, during an interview. “We started to think about how we could have a little bit of fun with this.” The company, she says, has been cooking up its Super Bowl commercial since March.
But the iconic cookie hasn’t been in the Big Game since 2013. In addition to running a TV ad in game, Oreo won notice for its use of social media to comment quickly on a loss of power during CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl XLVII. “You can still dunk in the dark,” Oreo’s Twitter feed said at the time, just as viewers and the network were scrambling to figure out how the action would proceed at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The post, which went viral, showed what an advertiser can do by thinking quickly and weaving themselves into events in real time.
In 2024, Oreo still wants to be part of the conversation. To do that, says Deignan, the advertiser must make sure its message comes through, even as it tries to stand out with the humor and the type of celebrity cameo that Super Bowl viewers have come to expect.
The ad never abandons the cookie it’s supposed to promote. “What’s most important is brand distinctiveness. We can all remember these ads that aired at Super Bowl that were magnificent stories, but can’t remember what they were for,” says Deignan. “We always want to make sure the branding part is distinctive, and what we really love about this ad is it pulls at nostalgia and fun and comedy, but actually it has Oreo at the center of the story.”
Oreo worked with Interpublic Group’s Martin Agency to devise its Super Bowl concept.
There may be more Oreo “twists” in months to come, says Deignan. Executives believe the creative concept “has a lot of legs for the entire brand,” she says. “We see the Big Game launching what is going to be a playful, provocative way to put Oreo in the cultural conversation.” The “twist” idea could provide “a longstanding point of view for Oreo, because it is so fun and so simple.”
Meanwhile, look for Oreos to show up in other cultural conversations ahead of the big event on CBS. The cookie should make an appearance on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in the days leading up to the extravaganza, and the late-night cameo just might whet viewers’ appetites for Oreo’s Super Bowl appearance.
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