Some of us get our news through serious media like newspapers or nifty digital sites like this one, and then there are those who get our daily news fix via Oreos, and, in fact, we're all for it. If the classic cookie's sudden prominence as a news delivery system is new to you, you've probably missed Oreos' "100 Twists in 100 Days" marketing scheme celebrating the cookie's 100 years on this planet. They've set up a website to promote playful Oreo-based visual jokes tied to a news events no matter how trivial it may be (we're looking at you Yo-Yo Day).
Take Oreo's post yesterday celebrating the landing of NASA's "Curiosity" Rover on Mars:
That's the latest news event they covered, and managed to convey what a lot of people were reporting in an undeniably adorable way. "What we’ve really set out to do is something authentic for the brand, true to its roots, that is fresh for today... We want to acknowledge what Oreo has been over the past 100 years... and recognize what it means in today’s world." Oreo executive (senior director for global biscuits) John Ghingo told The New York Times' Stuart Elliot back in February. The ploy began with Oreos celebrating Gay Pride on June 25, with a firestorm of controversy over a rainbow-colored stack of Oreos and has been going strong ever since. Each day there will be a cute Oreo visualization around current events until August 22 when 100 days have passed.
If this reminds you a certain search engine's clever daily doodle, that seems entirely intentional. Judging by how great the response has been (Oreo's Mars tweet has over 300 retweets and over 18,000 likes on Facebook and its Gay Pride Oreos have around 300,000 likes on Facebook so far), we pondered if the cookie company could learn a thing or two from the Google Doodle itself. Here are some suggestions for Oreo if they want their illustrations to become as iconic as Google's:
Keep This Up: As it stands, this Oreo project was only slated to run for 100 days--basically until the third week of August. But with the momentum (this Reddit thread would basically take Oreo's Mars rover post to prom), why not keep it going? According to Google, there have been over 1,000 doodles since the first popped up in 1998. That's consistency.
... And That Would Require a Team: "Soon after the first Google doodle, freelance artists began working on others and in 2000, Dennis Hwang, a webmaster at the time, became Google’s official chief doodler. Twelve years later, the team has grown into a group of illustrators (aka doodlers) and engineers," writes Google. We're not sure if Oreo would want to maintain that type of workforce.
Get Interactive: Some of Google's best doodles are the ones that involved some sort of interactivity. Two of the ones that caught our eye were their Valentine's Day doodle (which was actually more of a video) and its Moog synthesizer doodle in honor of Robert Moog. Again, that would involve a bit more work than an artist rendering, but Oreo has shown (look at its August 4 yo-yo twist) that it's more than capable of getting all animated on us.
Be a Little Less Controversial: Oreo has about 25 million fans on Facebook. That's huge. And we already mentioned the 80,000 "likes" its Gay Pride statement garnered, but as Adweek, HuffPo, and The New York Daily News all reported, the company was on the receiving end of backlash. Now take Google, which is known for its pro-gay stance (thanks to co-founder Sergey Brin's 2008 opposition to Proposition 8). Instead of making a loud statement, they turned their Gay Pride support into a hidden easter egg, taking away some of the negative backlash.
But Most Importantly, Don't Change a Thing: A lot of Oreo's viral success is due to their timeliness. Essentially that means while Google was rolling out its umpteenth Olympics-inspired doodle, Oreo was serving up the Mars cookie (which looks delicious) and making itself a part of the discussion. Instead of looking back, the way Google has, at historical events and birthdays perhaps sticking with the timely and new, even if it is something like the premiere of Project Runway, is the way to go.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.