The MS in Marketing program at Kogod has seriously affected my relationship status. Things between me and Oreo are now complicated.
After learning about new-product development in my Understanding the Marketplace course, it’s hard not to walk through the cookie aisle as a cynical, skeptical shopper. Ideally, new products are developed to fill a need. As a consumer—and a human being with functional taste buds—I’m not sure Watermelon-flavored Oreos meet a demand beyond curiosity.
Even though Nabisco’s Oreo cookies have been around since 1912, Watermelon Oreo and his ragtag cookie crew of Root Beer Float, Cotton Candy, Toasted Coconut, Marshmallow Crispy, Birthday Cake, Key Lime Pie, Banana Split, and over a dozen other Frankenstein’s monsters are still considered new products.
New products are heavily scrutinized in their generation and implementation. In fact, many new products are rolled out cautiously in test markets and backed by NSA-levels of market research. It’s difficult to imagine that the over 19 Oreo flavors that were released in the past three years were given as much time, resources, and care as Oreo’s DoubleStuf launch in 1974. How much money is going into developing these “limited edition” flavors, and what’s the return on investment?
Being a new Oreo flavor these days is about as exclusive as being crowned American Idol. Yet, Oreo new flavor press releases generate a ton of buzz. New flavors are tested and ranked on popular websites and shared by millions on social media ( I gathered this data from Mintel Reports, one of the dozens of marketing and advertising databases available at AU—a huge Kogod perk ).
The truth is, Oreo is a billion-dollar brand. They could unveil a cookie that tasted like Donald Trump’s comb-forward and they’d still make money. And that’s the point.
While I’m critical as a shopper, I’m impressed as a marketing student, and I love that my courses at Kogod inspire me to think about what I learn in my day-to-day life. So hey, Oreo may or may not be rolling in dough (vanilla crème?) from these products individually, but as a whole they are creating major brand awareness and proving to loyal fans that they insist on being relevant and having fun.
And who doesn’t want a fun cookie?
Summer’s coming up, do you think they’ll unveil a new, themed flavor?
Comment your ideas below!