Oreo Turns 100, But Celebration Is Anything But Creaky  

All that's needed is some milk...

The Oreo officially turns 100 today and, not surprisingly, the Kraft-owned Nabisco-made brand is treating the milestone with a huge, global party. The party has actually gone on for some weeks now, combining special product (Birthday Cake Oreos) media relations, social media, stores, live events, promotions and public relations.

Make no mistake, Oreo is an iconic brand and a profitable one (more than $2 billion in sales in 2011, says Kraft). But how do you take a brand this old and make it relevant for consumers today?

“We want to acknowledge what Oreo has been over the past 100 years and recognize what it means in today’s world,” said John Ghingo, senior director for global biscuits at the East Hanover, N.J., office of Kraft Foods, in a New York Times article.

And one only has to look online to find out what Oreo's birthday means to the public today. First, the media is all over the story. Google "Oreo, 100th anniversary" and you get 441,000 results.

Then there's the Oreo Facebook page, which has more than 25 million "likes." An "Oreo Moments Gallery," set up for the celebration, allows fans to share photos, videos and stories related to their favorite Oreo memories. So far more than 13,000 of Oreo's Facebook fans have done so. Posts from fans (want to hear an original song about Oreos?) demonstrate that the campaign theme of "Celebrate the Kid Inside" is right on the money. Meanwhile, regular posts from Oreos about the birthday—including celebratory recipes from Kraft—have drawn thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

While it's clear that Oreos would remain wildly popular even without a big birthday bash, there's a lesson here for any anniversary PR campaign: A brand can be fresh and vital when it's valued by the consumer and celebrated in an interactive way. 

Follow Scott Van Camp: @svancamp01

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About Scott Van Camp

Scott Van Camp is editor of PR News, an executive-level, reader-supported publication that helps enhance the business impact of PR. Scott has a rich background in both journalism and PR/marketing. He has more than 15 years of experience as a writer/editor at various consumer and trade publications. Scott was with VNU Business Publications for five years, including stints as managing editor at IQ News and Technology Marketing magazines and senior editor at Brandweek. In the PR/marketing sphere, he has served as corporate communications manager at MarketBridge, a marketing and sales consultancy, and as editorial director for the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. While at the Council, Scott led several high-profile marketing research projects. He has also operated his own communications and media consulting firm, SVC Communications.

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