Newest Guest Star on 'Modern Family': Oreo

ABC Sitcom to Include Popular Cookie in Latest Product-Placement Pact

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The producers at ABC's "Modern Family" have cooked up a product appearance for Kraft Foods' popular Oreo cookie, and the results are expected to show up in Wednesday's episode of the program.

As part of an ongoing marketing effort surrounding Oreo's 100th birthday, the staff of the ABC sitcom were asked to craft a scene for Kraft that involves young Luke Dunphy (played by actor Nolan Gould) eating an Oreo in an interesting way.

The Oreo guest-starring role is a somewhat rare one for "Modern Family." Despite a steady clamor from advertisers to insert their goods into the hands of the show's characters, the show's crew tries to limit such deals to between one and three a year, "Modern Family" co-creator Steven Levitan told Advertising Age in a January interview.

Guest star: Audi
Guest star: Audi
But "Modern Family" has this season featured product appearances from Toyota, Audi and Target .

After the Oreo surfaces in tomorrow night's episode, Kraft will run an ad in the first commercial break following the scene.

Kraft executives who work on Oreo began talking to ABC in the spring of last year and put the agreement together late last summer, according to a Kraft spokesman. As part of the deal, ABC has been running a series of promotional vignettes that feature clips of "Modern Family" characters celebrating their inner child -- a quality that Oreo is also supposed to embody. Publicis Groupe 's MediaVest and its LiquidThread branded-entertainment unit helped put the deal together, the spokesman said.

Marketers think their wares and "Modern Family" ought to go together like, well, cookies and milk. The theory is that having one of the show's characters carry a particular brand of soda or computer tablet creates a sort of halo effect around the product, giving the impression that the advertiser's goods are a good fit with routine family life.

"We chose to partner with the program because it brings to life fun moments of family connection in a humorous and entertaining way," said Kraft spokesman Basil T. Maglaris. "Oreo continues to remain fresh and relevant to consumers even in its 100th year, and it's in part due to partnerships like this."

Mr. Levitan has said the show turns down approximately 90% of the requests he gets. He's more open to ideas that wouldn't strike a false chord when put into the hands or words of a particular "Modern Family" character. He also realizes that some of these deals can bring some money back to the show that allows for remote shoots or better perks.

Kraft has been pushing its Oreo celebration hard. Other tactics the snack-maker has used include organizing flash mob-esque, Oreo-themed parties for kids (of all ages). One Los Angeles event featured country band Lady Antebellum.

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