Home About Eric Topics SourceGear

2004-04-28 12:00:00

Ranting about Oreos

Making a recent appearance in our kitchen is a package of cookies bearing the name "Golden Oreos".  Basically, these are Oreo cookies except the cookie part is white instead of the usual chocolate.

Which means, quite obviously, that they are not Oreos.  :-) 

Oreo is one of the strongest brands in history.  Ask a hundred people what an Oreo is and 99 of them will tell you it's a chocolate sandwich cookie with white creme filling.  There have been many successful Oreo variations, but all of them were based on the chocolate cookie.

Don't get me wrong -- the Golden Oreo is not a bad little cookie.  I chomped several of them yesterday evening and enjoyed them thoroughly.  The problem here is not the cookie, but the name.  This otherwise innocent little cookie is simply not an Oreo.

Golden Oreos are yet another example of a classic marketing mistake called "line extension".  Basically, this is what happens when somebody with a strong brand tries to use that brand to sell something else.  History shows that this approach is almost always a failure.

This is law #12 in "The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing" by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Nabisco should know better.  Golden Oreos will soon be forgotten, just like A-1 poultry sauce and Life Savers gum.