'Game of Thrones' cookies prove limited-edition flavors are key to Oreo's growth

The brand released a buzzy, limited-edition GoT-inspired cookie in honor of the show's final season.

Company: Oreo
Campaign: Game of Thrones-inspired Oreo
Agency partners: Weber Shandwick (PR), 360i (creative), Elastic (video production)
Duration: April 2019

In honor of the final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Oreo released a limited-edition cookie inspired by the show. While the flavor was classic Oreo, the cookies themselves were marked with the insignia of House Lannister, House Targaryen, House Stark and the Night King.

Strategy
Oreo has experienced past success in integrating itself into the coverage of cultural events, such as when it capitalized on a blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl with the now iconic tweet: "You can still dunk in the dark." Like the Super Bowl, Game of Thrones’ final season was an event that brought millions of viewers together.

A GoT-themed Oreo cookie - which marked the first time the brand teamed up with a TV show to make a limited-edition product - "allowed us to tap into what’s happening in pop culture, which we know excites and engages our fans," Kamila De Maria, brand manager at Oreo, said.

She added that partnerships like this help keep the 106-year-old brand "contemporary."

Tactics
Oreo worked closely with HBO to plan a campaign that reflected "the spirit of both brands," De Maria said. This included tweaking recognizable assets from both companies, including the design on the top of the Oreo cookie, replacing the imprinted Oreo with GoT insignia.

Before the cookie’s April 8 launch date, Oreo pitched the product to select publications, including those covering food, lifestyle, entertainment and advertising. Reporters and editors were sent branded assets, including samples of the cookies to try and a link to a GoT-Oreo video that recreated the opening credits of the show using 2,750 animated Oreos.

"Our strategy was to infuse the playfulness of Oreo into the epic-ness of Game of Thrones," De Maria said.

While Oreo didn’t work with influencers in a paid capacity, it selected around 50 influencers and high-profile GoT superfans, gifting them the product either the week before it was available or sometime during the final season.

Results
The GoT-themed Oreos generated more than 2,000 earned media placements, including coverage in USA Today, Vox, Food & Wine, Forbes, People, US Weekly and Fast Company. On social media, the product was mentioned 14,247 times across social platforms.

The re-imagined GoT-Oreo opening sequence has been viewed 581,000 times on Instagram, and nearly 1 million times on YouTube.

The campaign also penetrated the cultural conversation to the point where it was mentioned on Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Seth Meyers.

While Oreo declined to share sales data, De Maria said the cookie was one of the brand’s fastest-selling products.

"We know consumers like variety when it comes to snacking and our limited-edition flavors are key drivers Oreo's growth across the category," she said.

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