Oreos highlights baking fails in holiday spot

Who: Mondelez Canada (Oreos), with Saatchi & Saatchi for strategy and creative; Scout Productions for production (directed by Chris Woods); TA2 for sound and music.

What: “The Gift of Oreo,” a rare foray into made-in-Canada holiday marketing for the world’s leading cookie brand.

When & Where: The ad is in market now, running through Dec. 24 across TV, online, and social in both English and French.

Why: Oreos are the best-selling cookie brand in the world, with some 34 billion consumed in more than 100 countries each year. However, brand manager Lexie Lubov said they heard from consumers that the cookies don’t play a significant role in Canadians’ festive traditions because they’re seen as more of an everyday treat, rather than a holiday indulgence.

“This holiday season, we’ve set out to change their behaviour and make Oreos and integral part of their family gatherings and rituals,” said Lubov.

Mondelez has been relying on U.S. holiday creative for the past several years, but this year, Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative team convinced the Oreos brand team to let them develop some made-in-Canada marketing. “We just said ‘Give us a budget and a week, and we’ll do our best to  give you something a impactful,'” said vice-president, creative director Mike De Candido.

Oreos’ four-year-old brand platform “Stay Playful” is the basis for the campaign. “There was no real brief: It was Oreo, holidays, and be playful,” said De Candido.

How: The spot is anchored by a jaunty earworm of a song, with humorous lyrics about holiday baking fails: “Gingerbread men with a missing arm/smoke everywhere, there’s the fire alarm/guests are arriving at your front door, and there’s flour all over the floor,” it begins, accompanied by corresponding visuals.

It goes on to tell of “burnt and cracked”  snowmen treats, a gingerbread house that looks more like a shack, and “goopy dough” all over the walls, before the final shot of a woman putting the crowning touch on an Oreo tower, accompanied by the super “Give yourself the gift of Oreo.”

“It was music-first,” said De Candido of the creative approach. “We [wanted to] focus on baking fails because the holidays are full of them, and because we wanted to have a sense of nostalgia attached to the spot, we wanted to create a holiday song and pair visuals to it.”

The original idea was to create new lyrics for the Christmas staple “Carol of the Bells,” but instead TA2 “knocked it out of the park” with its original song, said De Candido. “We gave them the option to do something great, and they did.”

And we quote: “In the hectic holiday season, our goal was to create a visually and acoustically distinctive idea that would cut through the noise. Teaming up with TA2, we created a nostalgic-sounding song that pulls you right into the spirit of the season.” — Rob Gendron, VP, executive creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi

Chris Powell