CHICAGO: Oreo, the cookie brand made by Mondelez International, has successfully engaged consumers by using shopper marketing to encourage them to "play with the product", be it via recipes, sweepstakes or sharing on social media.

Steve McGowan, the firm's Director/Shopper Marketing, discussed this topic at the 2016 Brand Activation Conference, an event held by the Brand Activation Association (BAA), a division of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

He reported that the premise of recent shopper-marketing efforts has involved prompting the customer to "open up your hearts through possibilities, playing off a kid's perspective and tying it back to your childhood." (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: Mondelez builds Oreo shopper-marketing clout.)

"Oreo is, inherently, a playful cookie," McGowan continued. And this idea is summed up by the "twist, lick, dunk" formula that has long been associated with the tasty treat.

"We always start with, 'What's the insight?'" the brand's shopper-marketing lead continued. "People already were in that space, so we thought it was okay to fit our program into it."

And several core insights helped shape the strategy of leading consumers to "play with the product" in various ways – a platform which is also intended to have relevance in multiple markets around the world.

"Consumers and shoppers already are interacting with our product in a great way. They're already playing with it. They're already using it. They're creating their own things. They're sharing it. We saw a lot of the interest in buying on Instagram," said McGowan.

This mixture of playfulness, imagination and inclusiveness, in turn, feeds into expanding customer horizons. "If you're stuck in a routine – doing the same thing day in and day out – you're not really open to playfulness or even creativity," McGowan said.

"But, if you step outside of your routine, something in your mind opens up to creativity, to playfulness, to enthusiasm."

Data sourced from Warc