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Oreo, which has gained acclaim for its innovative digital marketing, is pivoting to the big screen in its newest campaign.
The Mondelez International-owned brand has inked its first-ever global movie marketing deal with Paramount Pictures that pairs the cookie brand with the latest "Transformers" flick. The campaign covers more than 35 countries and includes a TV ad directed by Michael Bay, whose latest Transformers movie, called "Age of Extinction," will hit U.S. theaters on June 27.
Oreo has also secured product placement in the movie, LeeAnne Stables, executive-VP of worldwide marketing partnerships for Paramount, confirmed in an interview.
Other campaign elements include Transformers-themed Oreo packaging and point-of-sale marketing. In Southeast Asia, the brand will introduce custom flavors such as "prime berry creme," which is a reference to Transformers character
The campaign -- which will form the centerpiece of Oreo's summer marketing efforts -- shows that Mondelez has not turned its back on traditional advertising techniques even as it shifts a large portion of its budget to digital marketing. The company plans to dedicate half of its North American media budget to mobile and digital by 2016. Globally, Mondelez will spend about 18% of its media budget on digital this year.
"There is definitely an overarching goal to move more towards digital," said Jennifer Hull, global brand manager for Oreo. "But there is also an understanding that TV still plays a big part of driving awareness … especially once you get outside of the U.S."
That's not to say the Transformers campaign will ignore digital. There will be plenty of that, including putting movie-themed activities on the brand's existing "Twist, Lick and Dunk" app, which has been downloaded more than 4 million times across the globe, according to the brand. Oreo's digital agency is 360i. Oreo will also make ad buys on YouTube.
The TV ad, called "Little Help," will run in more than 15 countries and will depict "how an Oreo cookie provides a moment of support" as the Transformers robots "carry on in the fight for good," according to Mondelez.
Oreo began seeking a movie partnership about a year ago, Ms. Stables said. "Every [movie] studio knocked on their door and we ended up with the deal and we are just very proud of it," she said.
Ms. Hull said Oreo went with "Transformers" because both brands are "optimistic" and "playful."