2 Min Read
Why Wasabi Oreos Exist
It all started with birthday cake.
That was the first specialty flavor Oreo released back in 2012 to celebrate the brand’s 100th birthday.
Since then, the mad scientists at Oreo have created a staggering 65 new flavors. Some you’re probably familiar with (peanut butter, mint, etc.) and others probably not (hot chicken wing and wasabi).
Why the Onslaught of New Oreo Flavors?
It’s all in service of the traditional Oreo. Novelty Oreo sales are up 12 percent in the last three years, while sales of OG Oreo are up twice that.
Oreo recently peeled apart its flavor invention process for an article in the New York Times. Justin Parnell, the senior director of the Oreo brand, said new flavors drive interest in the overall brand, and sales increase as a result.
Like any good marketer, Parnell was sure to leave a little intrigue around Oreo’s exact process. The product development team includes marketers, researchers and food scientists, but he wouldn’t reveal the team’s name to the Times reporter.
Keeping Dunkers, Biters and Twisters Engaged
Each time Oreo announces a new flavor, it submerges the brand in a fresh round of media coverage.
Over the years, the company has learned that the more outrageous the new flavors are, the more exposure they get. That’s driven Oreo’s secretive team to push the boundaries of cookie science to new frontiers with flavors like churro, Peeps, root beer float and waffles and syrup.
Lucky Charms follows a similar playbook. When the cereal announces a new marshmallow variety, it brings on a tinge of nostalgia and gets consumers thinking about hearts, stars, horseshoes and more all over again. And sales increase 10 to 20 percent. Lucky Charms is not above stunts like all-marshmallow boxes to keep their name in the news.
But it’s not just sweet treats that use this marketing strategy. Product updates, new features and updated look and feel are all ways to spur media attention and get audiences thinking about your offering again.