- Oreo has taken over the last standing Blockbuster to promote the return of its Cakesters soft-baked snack cakes, which arrive at select retailers later this week, according to a news release.
- The video-rental store location in Bend, Oregon, has been outfitted to transport consumers back to 2007, the year Cakesters first hit shelves. Its marquee now features the Oreo Cakesters branding and an "It's 2007 All Over Again" sign, while the exterior is decorated in movie posters that spoof popular blockbuster genres.
- Visitors will have the chance to try Cakesters samples in packaging inspired by VHS cases that carry the same faux film designs as the posters. Resurrecting Cakesters, which were discontinued in 2012, is a bid by the Nabisco marketer to capture consumer nostalgia while dusting off some experiential tactics previously waylaid by the pandemic.
Oreo is leaning on the equity of a retail brand many people likely assumed dead with a Cakesters takeover at the last remaining Blockbuster location. While the video-rental store — once the dominant player in its category — famously went bust amid the rise of streamers like Netflix, it has become an enduring cultural touchstone, cropping up in media like "Captain Marvel" as a signifier for all things '90s and aughts.
Nostalgia for past decades — and particularly the ones where millennials and Gen Z came of age — has proved an effective marketing strategy and one that might resonate even more as people contend with the grim realities of pandemic life and think back to simpler times. The Cakesters campaign also aligns with the resurgence of experiential marketing that looks to immerse consumers in a particular vibe or atmosphere, in this case browsing for VHS rentals that happen to contain the cream-filled snack, which has turned into a cult favorite after getting discontinued 10 years ago.
Other experiential activations have relied on fondness for bygone days. Airbnb over the holidays rented out the Chicago-area house from the original "Home Alone" for one night. In 2020, the home-sharing site offered a sleepover at the same Blockbuster location that Oreo is working with.
The snacking category has generally benefited from the COVID-19 crisis as people spend more time at home and seek comfort foods. Mondelez International, which owns Nabisco, beat analyst expectations in the third quarter, with revenue up 7.8% year-on-year to $7.2 billion. The company plans to grow Oreo by $1 billion this year, executives stated.
Oreo has generated positive buzz with recent marketing tie-ups. A collaboration with Pokemon last fall turned its cookies into collectibles featuring the cartoon monsters that fetched high prices on resale sites like eBay.