Cannes Lions

OREO Calls

VML, New York / OREO / 2024


1 Gold Cannes Lions
1 Bronze Cannes Lions
3 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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OREO unit sales were down versus year ago when we began planning for this campaign, and we saw March Madness not only as a prime opportunity to recruit more NCAA fans to our brand (a household penetration objective), but also to drive buy-rate among those who like OREO Cookies but weren’t making them a regular part of their March snacking basket. The 67 games in the tournament represented a big opportunity to drive frequency of OREO purchase, in particular – but how?

OREO had successfully played off matchups of its cookie-creme layers with black-white imagery in the past. This time: drive penetration and buy rate for OREO by playfully finding ways to turn college basketball fans’ everyday viewing during March Madness into an association with OREO Cookies.


We realized that the OREO brand’s black cookie and white creme layers were already naturally part of college basketball games, hiding in plain sight on referees’ black-and-white striped uniforms at courtside. So, we playfully hacked the March Madness game play by creating a rich mobile-commerce experience that invited sports fans to scan real-time officiated calls throughout the tournament and score sweet deals on OREO Cookies.

Over 22 different referee signals were converted into real-time playful cookie matchups in an easy-to-access web experience, each combined with an OREO offer redeemable at Walmart stores nationwide. The “OREO Calls” gave fans a moment of fun during times when the ball wasn’t in play – with social media and other channels driving viewers to visit in these moments and sparking conversation about referees’ calls and the corresponding playful OREO calls and offers.


Through social listening we noted that while snacking on game day is on everyone’s mind and creativity is rampant, cookies are left on the side-lines. Additionally, nearly seven in ten Gen Zers say they’re scrolling through social media while watching TV and 78% of Millennials use social media while watching a sporting event.

Which led to our social insight: disrupt their game time scrolling with a playful experience that brings their eyes back to the game and gamifies their dual screen experience.

To do this we engaged META, where 70% of our audience spends their time, to utilize feed and story ad space that catches attention to get consumers to the website. So that every interruption in game play becomes a playful moment to see OREO Cookies.


We began with social outreach across X, directly from the OREO brand handle to drive excitement among cookie lovers that this unique OREO experience would be live for the Elite Eight weekend.

On Saturday 3/31, we had a massive digital media push. Custom built audiences reached OREO lovers, basketball enthusiasts and Walmart fans across the country, reaching them with in-moment push notifications, social media banners across Meta platforms and custom digital display media.

We reached millions of cookie and basketball fans throughout the weekend of 3/30 – 3/31 and 4/7-- 4/8, driving them to engage with the custom experience and turn those referee jerseys into OREO Cookies!


OREO Calls was a short-time high-impact program generating during the 2 weeks and 8 matches it was live an average +100k live scans per game.

OREO Coupons added to digital wallet saw a successful redemption rate of 61% at Walmart (Partnering retailer)

Oreo Calls reversed the YoY declining trend for Oreo driving +9.8% direct sales vs PY March Madness launch week.

In a flat cookie category, OREO Calls resulted in a +9.7% increase in category share.

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