In one of many efforts designed to generate maximum awareness and engagement with the latest stage of the Oreo Double Stuf Racing League (DSRL) campaign, the brand is this week staging two live "flash" events in Boston and Los Angeles -- respectively featuring basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal and speed-skating gold medalist Apolo Ohno.
O'Neal and Ohno, along with football champion Eli Manning and tennis great Venus Williams, make up "Team DSRL," created last September as a major new story line in the DSRL campaign, launched in January 2008.
The premise: Team DSRL, representing the forces of good, must take on an evil "Hooded Menace" in a superstar version of a DSRL "lick race." For the uninitiated, in a lick race -- a key consumer engagement activity in the campaign -- opponents vie to be the first to twist open the cookie, lick off the cream filling, dunk it in milk, eat it and then down the milk.
Oreo Double Stuf has been teasing consumers and building speculation/ social media buzz about the identity of the Hooded Menace -- another "notable celebrity," according to Oreo -- since late September. Efforts started with a 30-second TV spot in which Manning assembles the dream-team of athletes for the lick battle against the Menace. (Manning helped launch the DSRL campaign, and Williams came on board during earlier stages.)
The flash events, staged in partnership with Flash Mob America, were timed to be highly visible lead-ins to a culminating TV spot -- to air during this Sunday's NFL NFC Championship Game coverage on Fox -- in which the Menace's identity is revealed and the mega-lick-race takes place.
On Tuesday (Jan. 18), O'Neal produced double-takes -- and a string of followers --as he walked through the Prudential Center's shopping area in his Team DSRL jersey on the way to the flash event held in the Center's Food Court. Icy Northeast winter weather didn't deter hundreds of fans from making the scene.
Shaq cheered on and joined in on the main games in a Lick Race Rally, whose participants were volunteers pre-recruited by Flash Mob America - its standard practice as part of staging and getting the word out about flash events. Social media elements supporting the event included regionally targeted Facebook messaging and tweets by O'Neal to his own (unsurprisingly large) base of followers.
In addition, the brand is running a scavenger hunt in which clues to the identity of the Hooded Menace are being scattered across Facebook and Twitter. Those who read the clues on the Facebook page and make a guess receive free DSRL ringtones. Also, fans who use their smartphones to scan the barcode on any Double Stuf package receive pop-up clues and opportunities to engage in the guessing games and freebies.
The DSLR campaign was inspired by Oreo's nearly 100-year history of "bringing people together," Eva Press, brand director for Oreo, tells Marketing Daily. The racing theme offers a way for fans to "have fun and interact over cookies and milk" -- and the social media initiatives and flash events have served to enhance the togetherness and build mounting anticipation and buzz about the penultimate DSRL Team/Menance TV face-off, she says.
The flash events -- a first for the Oreo brand and also the first non-dancing event for Flash Mob America -- have generated excitement among the brand's retail customers as well as the attendees, says Press. And the social media elements are more than just icing on the cookie.
"We are bringing the real world and the digital world together in ways never before possible," sums up Press.