Oreo brand booming worldwide

by Eric Schroeder
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — Already more than a $2 billion business, Oreo has the potential to double in the coming years if initiatives put in place by Mondelēz International, Inc. are successful, said Irene Rosenfeld, chairman and chief executive officer of the Deerfield, Ill.-based company.

In a Feb. 19 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton, Ms. Rosenfeld used Oreo as an example of how Mondelēz implements a sharp focus on its power brands to drive top-tier growth. Doing so requires the company to capitalize on its strengths in existing markets and seizing white space opportunities, she said.

Ms. Rosenfeld said Mondelēz made Oreo the leading cookie brand in China by adapting the product to local tastes and supporting it with innovative marketing. In fiscal 2012, sales for Oreo grew 20% in China to $500 million. Now, the company is applying the lessons learned in China to its operations around the world.

“Oreo has now surpassed the billion-dollar threshold in developing markets, up 20% last year alone,” Ms. Rosenfeld said. “In the U.S., the brand grew 6% last year as we used innovation and some of the most creative marketing in the business to keep Oreo fresh and relevant. Those of you who followed us on Twitter during the power blackout during the Super Bowl know what I’m talking about.”

Ms. Rosenfeld was referencing the company’s decision to post the message: “Power Out? No Problem” along with a picture of an Oreo cookie with the line “You can still dunk in the dark” to the company’s Twitter account after the lights went out at this year’s Super Bowl for 34 minutes. The ad was retweeted, or shared, more than 14,500 times on Twitter following the posting.

Mondelēz also is seizing white space opportunities by building on its strengths in other categories and with other brands, Ms. Rosenfeld said.

“We’ve already introduced Oreo in several new European countries, including Germany, France and the U.K., and this year we’ll expand in other major developing markets,” she said. “While Oreo is more than a $2 billion business today, we see clear opportunity to double the business in the coming years.”
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