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Special Project

Special Project
From the 9th Annual Shorty Awards

OREO Goes Live on Hairspray

Finalist in Integration with Live Television

Entered in Branded Content


Our objective was to leverage the nostalgia of the OREO brand to help celebrate and strengthen OREO cookie's core consumption ritual with milk, and get people to rediscover the wonder of dunking.

Mondelez wanted to find a unique way to celebrate the ritual and wonder of dunking an OREO cookie in milk, while working in tandem with Nabisco's 115th anniversary celebrations.

Our brand insight came from OREO cookie's incredible history. The OREO brand has been successfully satisfying consumers for over 100 years – a milestone worth celebrating - and enjoys immensely positive brand equity. At the same time, Nabisco (OREO cookie's traditional parent company) was in market celebrating their 115th anniversary.

These milestones tied perfectly to our consumer insight: in the face of information overload and the oppressive realities of living in an 'always on' digital world, our target audience (W25-54 & A18-34) seek out nostalgia: they yearn for simpler times, and for the simplicity of rituals from times gone by. According to Google, 75% of GenX watch YouTube videos that relate to past events or people – watching old commercials is in the Top 3 nostalgic content genres for this audience.

Strategy and Execution

To unite these insights, we sought to identify a genuine and meaningful opportunity in which to 'bring back the dunk' – something that would perfectly tie in with the brand's heritage, and the audience's urge to reflect.

We identified the perfect opportunity with NBC, and their live musical remakes, which had become a modern TV occasion that brings families together to watch. The latest iteration was 'Hairspray': set in 1962 and first shown on film in 1988 (with a remake launched in 2007), this property perfectly leveraged the nostalgia of a simpler time across multiple generations, allowing OREO to tap into different mindsets, at the same time becoming an access point to remind our audience of the wonder of dunking.

We seamlessly integrated our core equity message of OREO 'Dunk' across a classic entertainment property that featured huge name talent; at the same time pioneering a first-to-market ad format. Tapping into the trending cultural moment of live musicals, we delivered a message that everybody dunks—even celebrities—right in the heart of family-oriented primetime.

The idea was simple: a Hairspray character was to deliver the OREO dunk brand messaging, as well as showcasing product direct to camera, seamlessly embedding the OREO brand in the three hour live special TV event. This integration was designed to feel modern and nostalgic at the same time.

We allowed the producers of Hairspray to really play into the nostalgia of the brand and have fun integrating OREO into the show, naturally and organically. The opportunity to meaningfully embed our brand messaging within a main character's narrative arc was very appealing.

Alongside the Hairspray Live producers, we collaborated on a buzzworthy, entertaining and contextually relevant viewer experience by delivering a "live ad" with Derek Hough (playing "Corny Collins"). In a single camera shot, and in character, he left the set in the show and facing the camera exclaimed his love of OREO cookies, dunking and eating the cookie in what felt like a seamless experience and extension of the scene. Reminiscent of the live ads of the 50s and 60s, the simple message and layers of nostalgia made the cookie relevant while keeping the viewer in the world of the musical.

In addition to this live moment, we also integrated online video and social media. We negotiated the live commercial to run in the stream of Hairspray Live online, as well as incorporating the NBC Social Sync platform to stream the OREO cookie's Hairspray Live Commercial on Facebook.

On social, Derek Hough, posted on Facebook about his OREO experience, with the Live Ad also being replayed on Instagram. OREO sponsored the Snapchat Hairspray Live story, owning 100% share of voice. This helped expand our reach and target a younger audience who might not have been watching on television.


Whenever we align our brands with a TV program, we look to both contextual relevance as well as viewership.

From a contextual relevance perspective, partnering with Hairspray Live' was a best in class alignment with our brand and consumer insights. The program meaningfully allowed a brand message that leaned into the rich cultural heritage of OREO, at the same time feeding into the audience's craving for nostalgia.

In terms of viewership, Hairspray's ratings were dominant for the night and won against competitive programming on other networks. Overall, the show delivered a 5.39 rating on Households and a 3.22 rating on WM25-54. The great news is that OREO's live commercial ran in the highest rated half hour (8:30-9.00p) of the show which garnered a 6.20 HH rating and a 3.66 WM25-54 rating.

Additionally, our partnership with Hairspray Live allowed us to introduce numerous Mondelez initiatives into the broadcast through traditional TV spots. We included references to Nabisco's 115th anniversary campaign, as well as family holiday recipes for their brands. We negotiated numerous favorable deals to support the broadcast with ads from sister brands Ritz, Honeymaid and Nilla, as well as additional OREO spots.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Carat, Mondelez

Entry Credits