Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How many flavors do you have?

Quick -- Name the very first round chocolate cookie sandwich with vanilla cream icing in the middle. If you said Oreo, you'd be...wrong.

Hydrox cookies were introduced in 1908; four years later, Oreos came along. And an iconic American institution was born.

(Johnny-come-latelys, take note: there's opportunity for success yet.)

Welcome to the April edition of Not Your Usual Marketing tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Oreo cookies celebrated their 100th birthday last month. In honor of the occasion, parent company Nabisco has debuted a limited edition Oreo flavor: Birthday Cake Oreos. The cookies look like standard Oreos, except the white frosting has flecks of rainbow sprinkles inside.

I was reminded of a piece I did on this product a few years back; here it us, updated. To account for still more Oreo flavors that have come along in the interim:

I was in the grocery store the other day and noticed the Oreo cookies. Only it wasn’t “just” Oreo cookies.

Sure, there were the “original” Oreo cookies that we all know and love. But, in separate packaging, there were also: Oreo Double-Stuff; Reduced Fat Oreo; Mint n’ Crème Oreo; Peppermint Oreo; Mini Oreo; Chocolate Crème Oreo -- whew, let me catch my breath here -- Golden Oreo Original; Fudge Covered Oreo; White Fudge Oreo; Fudge Mint Covered Oreo; Golden Oreo Chocolate Crème; Banana Split Oreo; Oreo Thin Crisps; and, not to be outdone, Double Delight Oreo Peanut Butter & Chocolate. And then, of course, in October, there's Halloween (colored) Oreo and Candy Cane Oreo at Christmas.

(I'm still waiting for Potato Latke Oreo for Hanukkah...)

Now why would arguably this nation’s most popular cookie product come up with all these different variations on an otherwise successful approach?

Because they want to either answer demand anticipate demand or create demand? Because they don’t want to get into a marketplace rut? Because they want to “keep things fresh?” Because they want to challenge themselves? Because they want to stay ahead of the cookie curve? Because with each new product introduction, they become top of mind? Again..?

The parallel to be drawn here presumes to ask the question, what are you doing to “diversify” yourself? Nothing wrong with staying just as you are. “Stick with whomever brought you to the dance,” goes the old saying. But in these volatile times of strong and plentiful competition for what we do for a living, it may behoove us to reach into the old tool box, metaphorically speaking, and see what else we can do to add to our equipment as we build upon our own “product.”

For example, among the products at JDK Marketing Communications Management is a service to help adoption parents create profiles on themselves. This helps promote their eligibility as parents-to-be candidates to the original birth mother in order for her to decide which family she would select to ultimately parent her child. It’s a fascinating, and touching, process that few people outside of adoption circles know about. I certainly didn’t until a friend of mine in the industry was thoughtful enough to “clue me in.” Helene Nathanson heads a home study agency, created to help North Carolina families with pre- and post-adoption requirements:


It’s another way JDK Marketing Communications seeks to keep our fingers in an ever-growing pie -- or cookie -- of marketing diversity.

We’ll talk to you again the first Tuesday of next month, for another dunked-in-milk edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips.

Joel Kweskin
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