- Mondelez's Oreo cookie brand launched a campaign in the U.K. to celebrate the connections people made with each other while stuck at home during pandemic lockdowns. Parodying telecommunications companies that promise to "supercharge your connectivity" because of a "cutting-edge connection device," The Playful Network website celebrates collective playfulness, according to an announcement emailed to Marketing Dive.
- Fifty website visitors a day can receive a "free connection pack" of personalized Oreo cookies by delivery, and use other "features" like an "unused (Oreo) bites roll-over" and "free replacement service" of cookies. Oreo also is giving social media users a chance to win two prizes valued at £1,000 by posting pictures of themselves on Instagram or Twitter using the #PlayfulNetwork hashtag and @Oreouki handle in the caption.
- The Playful Network features tips to create better connections by having fun with loved ones, not help-desk support on how to re-establish a mobile or internet connection. Oreo worked with agency Digitas UK on the Playful Network campaign.
Oreo's playful campaign looks to celebrate human connections forged during pandemic lockdown, turning themes from telecom advertising about connectivity into forming more human bonds with others. Along with much of Europe, the U.K. lifted lockdown restrictions this summer, although the U.K. recently enacted new restrictions, suggesting that marketers must be agile when messaging around the pandemic and related lockdowns. The campaign's lighthearted tone is another sign of how advertising can be fun again after several months of a more somber tone that matched public concerns about the pandemic and its consequences on the economy.
Those concerns have led many consumers to seek comfort in brands they've known for years, a trend that coincides with people cooking more meals at home instead of dining out. In the U.K., the average person started cooking 17 to 21 meals a week during lockdowns, compared with only four to six times before the pandemic, according to a study from grocery chain Tesco cited by The Drum. Forty percent of U.K. consumers said preparing meals has reignited a passion for cooking, while 89% said they plan to cook after lockdowns ended, the survey found.
Mondelez is among the packaged food companies that had seen a jump in sales in several regions during the pandemic's early days. Its comparable sales rose 11% in North America as people stocked their pantries with brands like Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Toblerone chocolate in Q2, though stricter lockdowns in regions like Latin America and its Asia, Middle East and Africa division led to declines in sales, per a quarterly report. Campbell Soup, Kraft Heinz, Nestlé and Unilever saw increased demand, though they now face challenges in maintaining that momentum amid depleted inventories, according to a report by Food Dive, a sister publication to Marketing Dive.
Oreo's The Playful Network website in the U.K. echoes themes from prior campaigns about forming human connections, as seen last year in its biggest holiday campaign in the U.S. The "First Christmas" multichannel push included TV commercials, a social media activation and out-of-home advertising. After last year's holiday season, the cookie brand ran another multichannel effort as part of bringing back the Most Stuf version of its sandwich cookies with extra frosting. The campaign included a $100,000 online contest, TikTok challenge, OOH elements, limited-edition products and "retailtainment" activations.