The Secret Behind Oreo's Social Media Marketing

The Secret Behind Oreo's Social Media Marketing


Marketers at Oreo have been generating a lot of buzz about their cookies these days, and they're using social media to do it. The techniques they're using are extremely innovative, and they're not that difficult to replicate. 

Although this popular brand of cookie is known for its black-and-white striped appearance and its customers tendency to twist it apart or dunk it in milk, the brand is a social media powerhouse:

Over the past few months, Oreo has hit more than a couple social media home runs. Their tweet during the Super Bowl, the 100-day “Daily Twist” Facebook campaign, the "Cookie Vs. Cream" videos on YouTube, and their spur-the-moment Twitter banter with their arch enemy, Kit Kat, demonstrated true mastery of social media. Let’s consider the promotions, then consider the lessons to be learned.

Oreo's Super Bowl Tweet

When the lights went out at the New Orleans Superdome during the Super Bowl, much of North America came to a halt. Football players shuffled about the sidelines in the barely lit arena, while tens of millions of television viewers looked for something else to do during the 34 minute blackout. Here's what Oreo did:

Oreo’s marketing executives and agency, 360i, were already gathered watching the game from a social media war room of sorts. In five minutes, the team had composed, created, approved, and tweeted a simple, blackout-related ad, showing a picture of a single Oreo cookie against a dark background with the tag line, “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark.” Brilliant.

The ad generated more than 16,000 retweets and was seen by tens of thousands on Twitter. The media lauded it for being one of the best Super Bowl ads bar none. The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other publications wrote articles about it. 

Oreo's Daily Twist Campaign

Each day from June 25 to October 2, 2012, Oreo released a whimsical image of the cookie redesigned to commemorate something that had happened on that date.

On September 27, an Oreo was shown with referee stripes noting that the National Football League’s referee strike had ended. On August 5, half a cookie with red cream and tire tracks symbolized the Mars rover landing. You can see them all here

The campaign was housed primarily on Oreo’s Facebook page and managed to increase customer engagement 110%, according to the company. Oreo also added nearly 5 million likes during the campaign’s run.

Oreo's Cookie Vs. Cream Video Campaign

Oreo's 'Cookie vs. Cream' videos are a clever campaign housed on their YouTube account. They feature wildly elaborate machines that are designed to split Oreo cookies into two pieces and remove the cream filling. The first video from this ad campaign shows a seperator created by physicist David Neevel, and in three weeks it received over 4 million views. 

Oreo went on to produce three more videos featuring creative seperator machines. The four videos have been seen over 5 million times and have generated thousands of positive comments. 

Twitter Tic-Tac-Toe

A couple weeks ago a playful banter between Oreo and Kit Kat occured. Oreo is owned by Nabisco, and Kit Kat is owned by Nestle - so they are direct competitors. It all started when someone Tweeted this:

 Two days later, Kit Kat's social media marketers responded with a clever challenge to Oreo:

Several hours later, Oreo responded with a checkmate: 

Apply Oreo’s Strategies to Your Business

The social media campaigns outlined above are some of the highest quality found anywhere to date. They can generally teach us five important lessons how to run a successful social media strategy:

1. Be Timely and Topical

Terms like “newsjacking” and “culture-jacking” have been applied to both the Oreo Super Bowl tweet and the Daily Twist campaign.

Newsjacking is the idea of interjecting a business’ marketing message or ideas into a current news story in order to garner additional attention from both customers and the media. Culture-jacking has a similar definition, but centers around events like the Super Bowl.

The Daily Twist with its 100 topical designs and the Super Bowl tweet were, in part, a success because they were timely and topical. They spoke to current events. 

To apply this lesson, make a calendar of holidays and upcoming events, and plan posts around them. For example, April 5 is National Walk to Work Day in the U.S., a perfect opportunity for retailers selling shoes or health and fitness products. April 10 is Golfer’s Day and another opportunity for some retailers to post timely and topical updates.

2. Promote Consistently and Frequently

Consistency and frequency played a big role in the success of both the Super Bowl tweet and the Daily Twist campaign.

Consider that Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” message could not have been a viral success if no one had seen it in the first place. If Oreo had 82 Twitter followers instead of 82,000 the ad, however clever, would not have made headlines. Rather Oreo had laid the foundation for Super Bowl success with about 5,000 simple tweets, posted at a rate of about three or four a day, incrementally engaging its customers and building an ongoing dialogue.

Similarly, the Oreo Daily Twist boosted customer engagement because as regular as the sunrise, Oreo fans knew that each day Oreo would post a new graphic and new twist on its image. To apply this lesson, plan to regularly engage on social media. Try to post at least a couple of times each day, and build up your social community. 

3. Use Graphics, Simple Concepts

All of Oreo's social media campaigns have relatively high production quality. Instead of simply tweeting about the Super Bowl blackout, they knew it was worth waiting a few extra minutes (risking the lights going back on) to produce a well designed image that they could share. The image was nicely designed and had a clear tagline making it easy to understand. 

Same goes with the game of tic-tac-toe with Kit Kat. They had a graphic designer edit the Kit Kat bar and add the Oreo logo to the image.

With the Daily Twist campaign, Oreo designed 100 different cookies to release a new one each day. The campaign was so simple, just show people a new picture of a cookie every single day for 100 days. The simplicity paired with the exciting visual element in these social media campaigns made them easy for viewers to understand and share. 

Apply this lesson to your company by using more high quality visuals, and simplifying your message. 

4. Have Fun

Social media is supposed to be social, so it should be no surprise that people enjoy entertaining and fun-loving engagement. Every one of Oreo's social media campaigns outlined above were mean't to make people smile.

Their Super Bowl tweet amazed people with its speed of execution. Their Daily Twist images delighted their customers with a fun little surprise each day. The separator machine videos are just plain hilarious. And their Twitter battle with arch enemy Kit Kat was playful and took a lot of guts. 

When you're interacting with your social community it's vitally important to have fun, so long as your business type allows it. If you can make someone smile, do it, and you'll notice your following will immediately begin to grow.



  • Nicole
    April 02 2013, 08:13AM

    God they’re good. Nice post Shopify.

  • Mawgan
    April 02 2013, 11:03AM

    Good, but I would like to know whether or not they have promoted these social posts with well targeted CPM. My hunch is that they have put some money behind these posts.

  • Sarah
    April 02 2013, 12:36PM

    All of a sudden I have a craving for Oreos.

  • Jen
    April 02 2013, 12:48PM

    Thanks for another great article! It’s always good to read about companies who are doing social media really well.

  • Tommy
    April 02 2013, 03:36PM

    Great read!

  • Alison
    April 02 2013, 05:14PM

    Great article!

  • Tech Armor
    Tech Armor
    April 03 2013, 06:21AM

    Nicely done and certainly got the wheels turning in my head.

  • MaryLynne Christman
    MaryLynne Christman
    April 03 2013, 05:35PM

    Darn! I am out of milk.

  • jp
    April 04 2013, 12:29AM

    oreos are nasty

  • Alex
    April 04 2013, 02:47AM

    This is a great read, gonna apply this to my business right away.

  • Sausage
    April 04 2013, 07:39PM

    A great read and now time to apply it to our business. any idea’s on how to use the oreo scheme on a little to no budget? now that would be genius!

  • Ms__Sylvia
    April 05 2013, 03:10AM

    Thanks Shopify, Great post! I think anyone that wants to develop an online presence can learn from it. I’m definitely going to try some of these strategies and recommend them to others!

  • Coffee with Julie
    Coffee with Julie
    April 06 2013, 06:38PM

    I’m still in awe with how quickly they turned around that Superbowl tweet. As someone who’s worked in both private and public cultures, that kind of speed (as opposed to the slow, grinding approval process) is just so rare. Great post, thanks!

  • Suhana
    April 09 2013, 12:44AM

    Today i came across this amazing new website named…i really think you guys should check it out..

  • Katie
    April 10 2013, 03:21AM

    Great Post – I love it when such big brands just get it right!

  • Christina
    April 12 2013, 02:44PM

    Great strategies to employ, thanks!

  • Daneekah
    April 16 2013, 02:41PM

    great post! thank you!

  • Helis
    April 25 2013, 10:35AM

    Tasty article!

  • κατασκευή e-shop
    κατασκευή e-shop
    April 29 2013, 07:42AM

    very interesting article..!

  • Ashleigh
    May 01 2013, 10:22AM

    These were some really great examples! One thing I’ve been working on is actually adding special “holidays” to my editorial calendar. I’m having a hard time finding the obscure ones like Golfer’s Day. Any ideas where I could find a list of these types of special days?

    May 06 2013, 06:39AM

    Oreo Cookies are very taste food,these are like very well to childrens,and Oreo is very good brand,so Thanks for the post. This is very useful information.

  • Dan Posner
    Dan Posner
    May 13 2013, 12:38PM

    Great Post! Oreo is a genius when it comes to social media marketing. We can all learn a lesson here. The know the importance of customer interaction with the different shapes of Oreos they post, and games they play, and even the commercials they release. They definitely know what they are doing.

  • John
    May 17 2013, 08:27AM

    WOW! Surprising and Interesting too… Today i was better known about one of my Favorited bikki “Only OREO”..

  • Prototype Interactive
    Prototype Interactive
    May 23 2013, 01:27AM

    Really great Blog! Social media solution in dubai Social Media Marketing

  • felder
    June 17 2013, 10:49AM

    the “oreo” sandwich concept helped me get laid – thanks, Nabisco!

  • Abu Nudnik
    Abu Nudnik
    June 18 2013, 12:34PM

    This is a product that really needs clever marketing. The “chocolate” part is dry and flavorless, the “vanilla” part is just sugar with a tincture of vanilla. I have never bought a box, just had one inadvertently. I buy 85% cacao chocolate or 90%. Try it. You’ll find out what chocolate actually tastes like!

  • Juliane Cochran
    Juliane Cochran
    June 21 2013, 03:26PM

    Great article and strategies. Thanks for sharing!

  • Betty
    June 27 2013, 02:36PM

    Love Oreos and the article. Thanks for such great help to small business owners.

  • Anna Dawson
    Anna Dawson
    July 17 2013, 05:43AM

    I am impressed with their marketing strategy.. Amazing.

  • digital marketing
    digital marketing
    July 14 2014, 06:24AM

    Very well written article and and thanks for sharing it with your readers.

  • Melsar
    September 03 2014, 10:17PM

    Awesome sausome!!!!!!!!:)

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