Uh-Oh Again

Let’s start the week with a quick follow-up to an earlier post. Partly inspired by the Android Oreo discussion back in August, Jackie took a chance on “Mystery Oreos”.

I bow to her bravery. I’m a fairly adventurous eater, but I wouldn’t have dared try something even the manufacturer can’t–or won’t–identify.

She reports that they taste like Circus Peanut candies.

This is not a good thing. There’s a reason Circus Peanuts are a niche product, after all. (The niche seems to be “people who were traumatized by them as children feeding them to their kids”. Who says abuse isn’t a learned behavior?)

If anyone wants to take the rest of the package off Jackie’s hands, drop by her blog and leave her a note. Odds are, she’ll be happy to send them to you.

Does Nabisco really need to wander into the wilds this way? I think not. Granted, their parent corporation, Mondelez, cut about 9% of its workforce last year, but the layoffs weren’t because the company is in any trouble; according to the Chicago Tribune, they were part of ongoing cost-cutting measures.

And Oreos are doing just fine in the marketplace. According to Statista, Oreos are the top selling cookie in the U.S. after “Private Label”.

I’ll pause here to allow you to contemplate the nature of a “generic cookie”.

And no, that’s not a combined figure for the approximately ninety-eleven varieties of Oreo. That’s for Oreos, plain and simple. Note that the chart also has Oreo Double Stuff as a solid Number Four.

All those flavors? Window dressing and loss leader. Based on those sales figures, I can only assume that people are buying small packages of “Oreos Weird Flavr” and then following that with a big bag of “Oreos For Reals” to get rid of the taste of the officially-sanctioned imposter.

If so, a clever move on Nabisco’s part, but it can’t last. Sooner or later, they’re going to run out of vaguely plausible flavors, and we’re going to start seeing Sriracha Oreos, Bacon and Eggs Oreos*, and eventually Salmon and Toothpaste Oreos.

* All artificial flavors, so the cookies can remain kosher and vegetarian-friendly. (Note: Oreos can be cross-contaminated with milk. This is not, apparently, sufficient to impair their kosher standing, but it is enough to render them unfit for vegans.) The latest word on which varieties of Oreos are kosher may be found here.

What comes after that? Well, Nabisco will get a certain amount of press for the lawsuits over the Arsenic and Old Lace Oreos (“Now with even more lace!”), and we all know no publicity is bad publicity. But even that will only get them so far.

I don’t have a solution here–there’s a reason I’m not working in advertising–but Nabisco needs to come up with something.

Hopefully it’ll come before the world is introduced to Cuyahoga River Oreos.

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