Oreo turns cookie packs into canvases for expressing LGBT support

    • Oreo is releasing its first Pride-themed retail pack as part of a running collaboration with LGBT activism organization PFLAG National, per news shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
    • Timed for Pride month in June, the limited-edition cookie pack is covered in words of support from real LGBT allies, which are presented in an array of fonts and colors. Oreo also included a blank text box on the front of the pack so consumers can write their own messages of affirmation and gift the cookies to friends and loved ones.
    • Each pack contains classic Oreo cookies that display the words “Proud” on the chocolate base cake. Oreo put the cookie packs up for presale on its website on May 11, and they hit retail shelves nationwide on May 18. Oreo is making a statement about its commitments to LGBT consumers amid a wave of new legislation targeting the community.

    Oreo has worked with PFLAG for the past three years on campaigns timed for Pride month, but the latest partnership introduces a more forward-facing retail element with the customizable cookie packs. The idea is to convert Oreo products into a canvas where people can inscribe words of love and affirmation for those in the LGBT community, tying together aspects of personalization and purpose-driven marketing.

    While the brand did not directly address current affairs in the U.S., it could be responding to renewed energy for the anti-LGBT movement. Florida recently passed legislation, dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, that seeks to restrict discussions of LGBT issues in schools. Texas has started investigating the parents of transgender children following a ruling that claims providing gender-affirming medical care to minors constitutes abuse. And a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has further stoked fears that key rulings in favor of LGBT rights — namely Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015 — could be in peril next.

    “Words of love are needed now more than ever,” said Olympia Portale, marketing director of Oreo, in a press statement. “This pack is our love letter to the LGBTQ+ community and we hope that allies everywhere take advantage of the open space to write their own messages of support and share with family and friends.”

    Other food and beverage brands have switched up their packaging to signal support for LGBT consumers during Pride. Skittles for the past several years has removed the colors from its candy wrappers as a symbolic way to make room for a community that uses the rainbow flag as its primary signifier. This year, the Mars-owned label is breaking with the all-gray approach to introduce custom packs carrying splashes of color that were designed by LGBT artists. Skittles partners with GLAAD on its Pride marketing.

    Many consumers have grown skeptical of what’s called “Rainbow Capitalism,” where companies offer a brief and superficial show of support for Pride but largely ignore LGBT issues for the rest of the year. Oreo has made pro-LGBT messaging a more consistent part of its positioning dating back to the early 2010s. The brand in April released a short video titled “The Note” with PFLAG that depicts a young man coming out to his family. The work was subject to backlash from right-wing media figures.

    With the latest effort, Oreo is also centering more on its owned sales channels, with the Pride packs available for preorder on Mondelez, the snack brand’s parent, has made such initiatives a priority. As part of a growth roadmap released earlier this week, the organization said it would invest $1 billion to “become the digital commerce snacks leader.” The goal is to generate 20% of revenue from digital channels by 2030. Digital sales accounted for 6% of Mondelez’s total revenue in 2021.


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