Stunt Work: Cookies and Contests

People who frequent grocery stores may have noticed that Oreos are all over the place. The simple black and white cookie now comes in just about every color and flavor imaginable (including cookies ‘n creme flavored? Which is just Oreo-flavored? Oreo-flavored Oreos??)

Some of these new cookie ideas have been somewhat popular; others have been complete flops. The Oreo brand seems to have picked up on the strong opinions their product elicits and have developed the #MyOreoCreation contest. The story has been picked up everywhere from food blogs and sweepstakes pages to Refinery 29 and PopSugar and even scholarship websites – because the grand prize is $500,000.

Anyone 18 or older in the U.S. or Puerto Rico can invent a new flavor of Oreo or Oreo-centric recipe and submit it in one of four ways: on the website, by texting a provided phone number, posting to Instagram or Twitter using hashtags #MyOreoCreation and #Contest, or by replying to an Oreo social media post and using the same hashtags. According to the Mondelez (the company that owns Oreo) website, “You could WIN $500,000 and have your creation in stores all across the U.S.”

An Instagram searched revealed that the hashtag has been used 12,330 times as of May 25, 2017. The contest is open until July 14.

What Oreo did well:

Expanded beyond just new flavors. It would have been easy to only include new ideas for Oreo flavors, but by including “Oreo-inspired creations,” they’re allowing people to get creative with it. Dedicated contestants might even buy the product more to experiment with recipes. My mom, who once won a church ice-cream-making contest with her Oreo-mint flavor, is probably only one of many moms with an Oreo recipe. This is their time to shine.

Prize money. I mean, it never hurts.

Raised the stakes. The prize money would be cool, but it would also be extremely fun to see your invention for sale in grocery stores. I’d put that on my resume.

What could have been better:

Timing. I’m not sure how Oreo could have gotten around this except by somehow seeing the future, but the news is fairly saturated with politics and tragedy, and Oreo is getting lost in the shuffle. Unlike Starbuck’s unicorn stunt, this isn’t as simple as ordering a drink and posting a pretty picture. The nation might be a bit too distracted for this contest right now – 12,330 uses of #MyOreoCreation pales in comparison to the current 158,997 uses of #UnicornFrappucino.

Too many options. Again, I’m not sure how to get around this without losing some audience, but it almost seems like there’s too many ways to enter this contest. I probably would have narrowed it down to the direct website submission or the hashtag, for the sake of simplicity.

Kickoff. Perhaps Oreo had some kind of giant event to kick off this contest, but I didn’t hear about it. Making more of a splash to call attention to the stunt – a pre-stunt, maybe – could have helped stir up excitement.

Overall, this is a fun idea. While perhaps not the most original of publicity stunts, it’s fun and lighthearted. Even if the contest doesn’t garner as much attention as the brand would like, it probably can’t hurt the brand. What could take down milk’s favorite cookie?


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