NEW YORK: Oreo and Sabra Dipping featured heavily on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show debut on Tuesday, but the brands were not behind the plugs.
The Los Angeles Times recapped the CBS premiere, noting that Oreo and Sabra’s shout outs were during a part of the show "that felt like The Colbert Report," as he poked fun at Donald Trump – despite best efforts otherwise – and chalked up his plug of Sabra as an underworld-style trade off for landing David Letterman’s former show.
Colbert’s Oreo bit was seen by the company in real-time with the show’s premiere. Oreo spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati said the company did not know it would be featured.
"It was organic," she said. "It was not a paid integration by any means."
Guzzinati attributed the plug to Oreo’s staying power. She explained that the cookie launched more than 100 years ago and "continues to demonstrate it is a beloved consumer brand [and] part of popular culture."
Nothing major is planned in conjunction with Oreo’s spotlight on the show moving forward, said Guzzinati, who added the company was "excited to see the inclusion," on the show.
Despite Oreo’s history of real-time marketing prowess (see: Super Bowl power outages), the brand did not respond to Colbert on social media. And its silence did not go unnoticed.
Sabra, meanwhile, seized upon Colbert’s joke about his underworld-esque promise to hock hummus before the inaugural show wrapped.
To be fair, Sabra was in on the joke ahead of time, CMO Eugenio Perrier told PRWeek via email.
He added that Sabra was "thrilled" about the shout out because it "presented an opportunity to connect with a significant and savvy group of consumers and we love that our fans joined in on the fun with us through social media."
A Lucky Strike bowling alley was also featured during the show’s patriotic opening musical number. The inclusion was similarly outreach-free on their end, said Lucky Strike Entertainment CEO Steven Foster. It was Colbert’s crew who connected with them.
The team from CBS wanted to see the location beforehand, he said, but otherwise "it was that simple."
While Foster did note that Lucky Strike has been nationally recognized on TV previously, he added, "I don’t think I’ve ever been more flattered [by the show] featuring it in such a cool way."
The brands’ spotlight was projected to an audience of 6.6 million, according to Variety, garnering nearly four million more viewers than NBC’s The Tonight Show attracted on Tuesday.
However, Colbert’s show shed nearly 3 million viewers in its second night on air, ranking it second to The Tonight Show.