Get a load of this polarizing Oreo ad

Is it simple and brilliant? Or is it trying way too hard?

Luke Trayser
Jan 19, 2018 · 3 min read
Give it a second.

1. Backstory

This print ad was created by FCB Montreal and released over a year ago, but we’re talking about it now because I just discovered it today. Deal with it. This is my Medium publication and I will do what I want.

2. Ad credit

FCB staffers who were credited for this ad include a creative director, an art director, a digital designer, and…a copywriter! Incredible. There are two words here. One is the brand and the other is the product. How do I get that job? I want that job.

3. The debate

In the past couple hours, I’ve shared this ad with a handful of my professional and personal circles. I asked them a simple question: Do you love or hate this ad? It’s safe to say that we do NOT have a consensus. About half of the people absolutely adore it, and the other half are annoyed by it.

4. Negative feedback

There are two consistent gripes I’ve seen from people who don’t like the ad. First, they couldn’t tell that they were looking at a glass of milk. They thought they were looking at an Apple product. I can’t argue this feedback. If you couldn’t see the glass of milk or understand why Oreo chose to use it, that would indicate the ad is too confusing and misses the mark. But the second gripe is something I definitely want to debate. People saw this ad and said “This does not make me want to buy Oreo Thins.” Au contraire, mon frère! To support my argument, please watch this clip from “Homie the Clown,” a classic episode from Season 6 of The Simpsons.

5. Intermission

6. Your first reminder

You are not more powerful than good advertising. You think you are, but then you have some downtime at the nuclear plant, or you’re quietly shopping the snacks aisle at the grocery store. You see Oreo Thins, which is funny considering you’ve never noticed them before. Your mind instantly conjures a strange and memorable image: a tall, skinny, impossible-to-drink glass of milk. “Huh,” you think. “I should probably give these a shot. See what all the fuss is about.” You grab a package of Oreo Thins and toss them in your cart. And that’s the tale of how you became a devoted customer.

7. Your second reminder

Just like that dumb billboard for KRUSTY’S CLOWN COLLEGE, the goal of that Oreo print ad was not to instantly move the sales needle. The goal was awareness. Advertising, especially if you’re creating it for a brand as massive as Oreo, is nothing more than creatively reminding people, over and over again, “Hey! We exist! And we’re deserving of your money, time, and love!” And what’s the best way to remind people that you exist? To create something worth remembering.

8. The verdict: Is this a good or bad ad?

This is a fantastic ad. You may have to work a bit to understand it, but once you do, the payoff is outstanding. You get it. You’re in on the cookie-dunking secret. Best of all: that skinny glass of milk is indelible. It’s strange, it’s impossible, and you’re absolutely going to remember it.

9. But hey. Maybe I’m wrong.

Please feel free to use the comments section to tell me about your undefeated record against advertising.

Luke Trayser

Written by

ACD and copy guy at Ivor Andrew. Freelance copywriting mercenary. Not my real hair. Get in touch on Twitter or email ltrayser at gmail.

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