Billion-dollar Oreo cookie celebrates 100th birthday

Rappler.com
On its 100th birthday, Oreo showed how a brand could withstand the test of time

CENTURY COOKIE. The popular cookie turns 100 years old. Photo from http://www.nabiscoworld.com/oreo

MANILA, Philippines – On its 100th birthday, Oreo, the world famous comfort food showed how a brand could withstand the test of time and forge an emotional connection with consumers.

People in at least 5 countries celebrated the centenary of the cookie with 2 black biscuits with a white (or cream) filling via flash mobs featuring “Happy Birthday!” songs. The first Oreo cookies were baked at the Nabisco factory Chelsea, New York on March 6, 1912.

Kraft Foods, which owns Nabisco, sells around 500 billion Oreo cookie every year generating $2 billion revenues and making it part of the elite roster of billion-dollar brands worldwide. (Philip Morris Companies, Inc. acquired Nabisco and merged it with Kraft Foods, Inc. in 2000. Kraft announced it was splitting making the snack food business a separate company in 2011)

In business schools, Oreo is a classic case study of a successful brand and is considered a “true innovation.”

It allows consumers to “take ownership of the cookie” by encouraging consumers to be creative when eating them.

Through advertisements, Oreo was peddled as a cookie that could be dunked in milk, twisted apart, its cream slowly nibbled, or quickly gobbled as a whole. The idea that the cookie is ideal for sharing during precious moments with loved ones was also nurtured.  

It has the texture and flavors that appeal to all ages. An Oreo cookie is 29% creme and 71% cookie, according to one report.

“The simple act of enjoying an Oreo cookie and glass of milk continues to speak to a universal, human truth: inside of us, there’s a kid that deserves to be set free every once in a while, John Ghingo, senior director for Oreo Global at Kraft, told BBC.

But it’s not just food. In some schools, preschoolers learn to count as 10 little Oreos are dunked, nibbled and stacked one by one. To teach math, trivia questions are used. For example: If an Oreo cookie is 8 mm in height, how tall is a stack of 10 Oreos? 20 Oreos? All 51 Oreos (there are 51 in the standard 20-oz pack)?

Oreo’s ads revolved around the “twist, lick, and dunk” ritual to support the integrated marketing strategy behind the brand. Below are some of the Oreo ads through the years.