Nabisco stuffs more into Oreo promo

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Luring kids with prizes has given Nabisco's Oreo brand a significant bump in sales. So in 2000 it's offering even more.

Last year's "Don't eat the winning Oreo" promotion, which offered as grand prize a Volkswagen Beetle filled with Oreos, garnered a 29% hike in retail dollar sales for the cookie brand during the late January/early February period in which it ran. This year, Nabisco Biscuit Co. is offering a fantasy trip to the grand prize winner, Beetles to five first-place winners and cash, cookies and toys to others.

PRIZE-WINNING WORDS

A 30-second TV spot, from FCB Worldwide, New York, breaks Jan. 17 and runs for four weeks during kid-targeted programming, touting the chance to win one of the 1.5 million prizes by finding certain words -- trip, car, cash, toy or cookie -- embossed on an Oreo.

In the commercial, two brothers eating Oreos break into chase as the older brother tries to prevent the younger one from eating the Oreo that would allow him to pick one of three grand-prize trips. No luck, however, as the boy does eat the cookie.

"Usually when you do a promotion, you may get a 10% to 20% lift. But almost 30% is exceptional," said Archie Mack, business director for Oreo at Nabisco. To gain similar or even greater results, Nabisco decided to "enhance the promotion a little bit by strengthening the prize structure," Mr. Mack said.

In addition to advertising for the brand, on which Nabisco spent $15.5 million for the first nine months of 1999, promotions for Oreo are "very important in driving sales among the brand's core audience, households with kids six to 12," Mr. Mack said.

`MUNCH MADNESS'

Beginning Feb. 28, Nabisco will run an additional promotion around college basketball's March Madness as part of its official sponsorship of the NCAA Final Four championships.

The promotion, dubbed "Oreo Munch Madness," will feature a limited-time version of Double Stuff Oreos embossed with the shape of a basketball and featuring orange filling.

To support the promotion, to be flagged on package fronts with basketball-themed graphics and the phrase "Do the Oreo dunk," Nabisco will run contests with mass merchandisers such as Wal-Mart Stores and Kmart Corp. offering kids the chance to shoot baskets and win free temporary tattoos.

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