Rather than rolling out yet another new seasonal flavor, Oreo's holiday innovation for 2018 is a miniature turntable with tunes that change depending on how much of an Oreo one eats.
The working music box resembles a miniature record player, with a turntable at the center. As one eats more of a cookie, the device plays different songs. People can also record their voice to play back on it.
"The idea itself is obviously super playful, so it's definitely in the brand DNA of Oreo," says Jen Hull, growth platform lead for North America e-commerce at Mondelez International.
The concept was well-received in China, where it had its 2017 debut on Alibaba. Now it's available in the U.S. for the first time, in a $19.99 gift pack (sold only on Amazon through a third party) that comes in a tin with White Fudge Oreos, regular Oreos and Oreo Thins.
The limited-edition (actual number undisclosed) music box will be promoted with digital, social and TV support.
It will also appear in the Lifetime movie "A Twist of Christmas," which debuts Dec. 1. In the movie, there's kind of a live demo of the music box in a store, even though it's only available online.
"Given the occasion and given the price point, the e-commerce channel definitely makes a ton of sense here," says Hull.
There were discussions with retailers about in-store executions, but given the price and where people are browsing for holiday gifts it made sense to stick with e-commerce, she says.
It's the kind of unique product that may help Oreo's parent, Mondelez International, hit its e-commerce target. In 2015, Mondelez said it aimed to have $1 billion in revenue from e-commerce by 2020, up from less than $100 million at that time.
"These occasions that people are seeking out specifically online is a major part of delivering that goal," says Hull, who declined to say how far along Mondelez is at reaching the $1 billion mark.
Prior efforts in the U.S. included packs or Oreos people could color in 2015 and a dedicated site in a 2016 pilot that let people send tins of White Fudge Oreos to others by entering an email address or mobile number.
As for the songs on the music box, none of them will be top 40 hits any time soon. But they might sound familiar to Oreo's biggest fans, as they're snippets of music from some past ads in its Wonderfilled campaign.
Video production: Megan Graham, Max Sternlicht