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Tapping into millennial mixtape nostalgia with Oreo and Digitas UK | #BehindTheIdea

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The OREO brand has always been committed to playfulness and connecting with its most affectionate consumer base. To play on the nostalgia surrounding mixtapes for millennials, OREO has partnered with Digitas UK to create a digital activation that would enable users to share online 'mixtapes' with friends.

With every OREO pack bought in store, consumers can scan the logo on the pack to access the bespoke platform, giving them the chance to win a replica cassette player and other prizes, alongside the possibility of sharing mixtapes with friends. The creative idea came from Digitas’ creative department, and the website was built by Digitas’ technology arm.

Today we are getting Behind the Idea with Laz Nikiforidis, ECD at Digitas UK, to learn more about the delightfully playful campaign below.

What was the brief?

2021 is a music year for OREO in Europe. We launched a partnership with Lady Gaga in Q1, a new equity campaign in Q2 featuring a busker and a playful moment at a train station sparked by the cookie. For Q3, our partners at Mondelez Europe tasked us with creating a music-themed activation to drive sales as well as build affinity with our core audience of young millennials and millennial parents. When it comes to briefing sessions with our OREO partners, there’s always the formal brief, then a few casual and creative conversations where we engage in and around ideas to land as many interesting thoughts as we can. It’s a great relationship and we’re nearly always leaving the room with several ideas simmering away in our heads. 

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

We are a diverse batch of people at Digitas UK and we keep our initial brainstorms open to as many of our capabilities as possible. It’s not a ‘creatives-only’ zone. We invite conversation, frictions, ideas that start from data or ideas that start from a smart use of existing tech, or even from building from a new and interesting use of media. This is not to say that our strat partners won’t come in with cool insights, cultural tensions and in general help us infiltrate the existing conversation and zeitgeist - but for the first brainstorms, we want to allow as many different angles as possible from as many of our team functions as possible. For example, the cultural relevance regarding the resurgence of mixtapes touched everything from Guardians of the Galaxy to 13 Reasons Why. Injecting OREO’s playfulness into music sharing – creating modern mixtapes an old-school twist - was something that got us all excited. When we pitched the idea to clients, we designed and crafted bespoke mixtapes for every person in the room when you instantly make people part of a fun experience (our small bet on our Italian client’s love for Marco Masini paid off) it’s much easier for them to understand, feel the idea and get on board. 

From that point on we focused our teams on creating the different parts of the experience. 

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Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?

When we heard the word ‘mixtapes’ in the room (well, on the teams call), it made everyone smile. It provoked up those nostalgic memories of how each one of us would create their own mixtapes and how we’d secretly dedicate to people. Before you ask, yes we did have to explain the physical aspect of mixtapes to our gen-z team members, but they too brought up the fact that big names in the music industry have started publishing their music in cassette tapes. The universal insight together with the synchronicity and cultural relevance made the idea an instant winner. We had so much fun designing the experience, from the mixtape covers, to the packs, the UI and UX and shooting the video content. The challenge when executing a multi-touchpoint activation and as you’re trying to define how it works in each different one is always not losing focus on the customer experience, keeping it simple and seamless. Mondelez have adopted a marketing strategy that emphasises empathy and making everything relevant, simple and accessible for people is key. To create an easy mechanic for an activation that needs to run in multiple markets with different specificities and restrictions means you keep reviewing, testing and eliminating excess elements. This was a difficult but rewarding process as we all feel that the way the customer gets exposed to the idea with personalised creative and then the way they engage with the experience is frictionless and fun. 

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

Shooting with Covid restrictions was by far and away from the hardest part. I think anyone who has got an ad out during these times should be applauded – it is not easy. 

With the website, meeting a strict campaign timeline is always a challenge, especially with some added complexity from the connected packaging and Spotify integrations, but it’s something our blended experience and product delivery teams excel at. 

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?

We gave our cast in the film quite an interesting time as they had to keep headbanging inside a vintage Volvo for more than 3 hours until we’d captured the perfect moment. 

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What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

Music sharing has always been a fun way to connect with each other and we want to bring some of that fun back to today’s digital reality. OREO’s purpose is to fill the world with more playful moments that bring us together and hopefully this activation is managing to do that through our love for music. In a world that’s filled with seriousness, we want to inspire people to let their playful sideshow to truly connect. So, press PLAY with every opportunity to let go of your adulthood and be your true playful self.

What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

From digital/social advertising through to in-store, with an on-pack digital activation - featuring AI technology image recognition - delivering a tasty nostalgic hit (with Spotify Integration) served up for our target with a prize mechanic baked in. All these weaved in together in one seamless connected experience is what makes this activation unique. Oh! And that portable cassette player with the physical tape that you’re tempted to dedicate and secretly leave at someone’s desk like we used to do. 

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How long did it take from inception to delivery?

It took almost 6 months from client approval to delivery of the last assets with lots of conversations, some challenges that sparked exciting solutions. And if you ask us, that week between showing the work and getting a nod of approval from clients is what felt like ages. With good creative work, momentum is key. Once it’s out of your mouth, a creative idea is out there and you want to make sure you’re the first one to do it. 

One key thing to point out is that in addition to all the comms assets of the activation, we worked hand-in-hand with our tech team to design and build the website – https://www.pressplaywithoreo.com/ – over a 10 week period – and which sits at the heart of this connected experience and rewards consumer engagement and repeat behaviour. 

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

Last year, our Q3 activation for OREO was The Playful Network. A response to how amazing Brits responded during the covid crisis (they stayed playful) we came up with an activation inspired by their attitude and managed to lift OREO sales to the tune of an additional £1m of revenue. Press Play to Win is another insight-led activation and as a result, we want to drive sales for our client. Their success is our success. 

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Credit list for the campaign?

CREATIVE 
ECD: Lazaros Nikiforidis 
CREATIVE TEAM: Dani Brown, Alex Wood, Mimi Chan, Ruhdraigh McGarth 
SENIOR DESIGNER: Dan Bale 
SENIOR DESIGNER: Tim Vulkevic
JUNIOR DESIGNER: Joe Martin
STRATEGY PARTNER: James Whatley 
BUSINESS DIRECTOR: Alex Stewart 
BUSINESS DIRECTOR: Jackie Bee 
ACCOUNT MANAGER: Lou Fox 
ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Nat Conway 
PROJECT MANAGER: Ian Kaye 

TECH
CHETAN JAIN: Project Director 
FEBIN PHILIPOSE : Delivery Manager 
NIKHIL ROY : Senior Associate - Project Manager 
AVINASH GOND : Graduate - Delivery Manager 
FAIZAAN SHAIKH : Associate Technical Director 
GAJENDRA SINGH : Associate Director - Interface Developer 
PRAVIN VAICHAL : Lead - Interface Developer 
ASLAM SHIKALGAR : Senior Associate - Interface Developer 
ARATI ADELKAR : Associate - Interface Developer 
JOSHUL SHARMA : Lead - Application Developer 
SHIVANAND SATOSE : Lead - Technical Quality Assurance 
PRIYANK SONI : Lead - Quality Assurance 
MEHUL MEHTA : Lead - Quality Assurance 
NANDAN AURANGABADKAR : Director - Data Analyst 
SHREYANSH JAIN : Lead - Data Analyst 
VIDHYA SANAS : Senior Associate - Data Analyst 
LORIAN MADANES : Lead Business Analyst 
EDWARD MCDONALD : Lead Test Engineer 
STEVE TOWNSEND : Lead Cloud Engineer 
STEPHEN HARRIS : Lead Cloud Engineer 
RICHARD UNDERWOOD : Data & Security Director 
FRANCIS WILKINSON : Architecture Director 
LLOYD TUCKEY : Head of Technology

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