As part of the WARC Rankings 2024, we spoke to the people behind some of this year’s stand-out campaigns. In this interview, Jan Propach, Executive Creative Director, and Ian Guimarães, Creative Director, at Saatchi and Saatchi share insights from Oreo’s partnership with Xbox, which transformed the iconic imprints on Oreo cookies into gaming cheat codes.

Why are the WARC Rankings important to your agency?

The WARC Rankings – and rankings in general, much like awards – are like an official currency of creative advertising agencies these days. They are one good indicator for potential talents, partners, and clients to get a sense of the ability and the power of our industry. And everybody likes to be somewhere high in a ranking.

Tell us a bit about the background to the campaign  what was the challenge or issue you were trying to solve?

Every year OREO engages with its community by tapping into pop culture across various interests, such as music, movies, or gaming to sell more cookies. Following the successful partnership with Warner Bros. x Batman, the stakes were high, and we knew that we would need something bigger than a TV ad to overtake the previous success. Our primary aim was to introduce a concept that wasn't restricted by any format, with the objective of engaging people to join us in play.

When developing the creative approach, what was your process for generating unique insights and ideas? How did you land on the direction you took?

When the creative team had the idea of transforming cookies into cheat codes, we immediately grasped its potential – cheat codes are an iconic part of pop culture. Of course, we did have a comprehensive presentation detailing why this concept was so promising, but the most memorable part of the presentation was a large billboard, featuring only cookies arranged in a sequence to create a cheat code. This visual was vital to sell the idea as it summarised the essence of the campaign in a simple way.

 Oreo and Xbox collaboration Cheat Cookies campaign

Did you face any challenges or hurdles to overcome in the process of the campaign, from ideation through to execution? How did you overcome them?

Like with every integrated campaign, there were naturally phases in the Cheat Cookies project where the team had to tackle one or another bumpy situation together. Orchestrating all the involved teams always requires a high degree of coordination and sometimes even persuasion. A challenge worth highlighting was certainly having to consider for the first time, six different embossments of the cookies as part of the campaign.

Beyond the in-game activations themselves, what was your media approach, and why did you choose to go that direction?

The campaign was a digital campaign because the essence of the campaign was in the digital world, so we mostly focused on digital and social media assets. The campaign targeted not only OREO fans but also gamers. Since we had different audiences, we created assets tailor-made for each type of audience. OREO fans were targeted with the campaign content that mostly focused on OREO.

Forza Horizon fans were targeted with social media assets that had elements from Forza Horizon 5. Sea of Thieves fans were targeted with the content focused on that game, and the same happened with Halo Infinite fans. This applied not only on social media but also on 6” bumper ads. Overall, we were able to target consumers with what interests them the most.

This campaign was hugely successful. What does the next iteration of the partnership look like?

The collaboration with Xbox was a lot of fun and we hope we can work with the fantastic team again soon. Until then, we have found a new, equally great partner for 2024: Bandai Namco with the legend Pac-Man. So, we're staying in the gaming field, but we've shifted our focus a bit. This year, not only young Gen Z hardcore gamers, but everyone can #ChasePlayfulness.