It's an unlikely partnership, a biscuit brand and the world's largest imperial palace complex. Oreo and the Forbidden City are hugely popular in very different ways—one the best selling cookie in the world, the other among the top museums worldwide—but together, they struck gold.
Quite literally: the partnership between the two, which saw the creation of six imperial-inspired cookie flavours and a remarkable film in which the historical palace is recreated out of Oreos, won Gold in the Food & Beverage Products (non-alcoholic; including pet food) category at the 2020 Digital Media Awards. The campaign also scooped a silver award in the Integrated category.
DIGITAL MEDIA AWARDS 2020
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At the heart of the campaign, created by BlueFocus Digital, was a range of new cookies with imperial-inspired flavors such as lychee-rose, red bean and hawthorn berries, which the brand created in collaboration with Beijing’s Forbidden City. The flavours included savory options too, such as Cantonese barbequed pork and spicy pepper.
Consumers could buy the full assortment in a two-tiered box, designed to resemble the packaging of traditional Chinese pastries such as moon cakes. The box incorporated the Forbidden City’s treasured painting 'The Twelve Beauties' into its design. They could also choose to purchase single-flavour boxes or gift sets that came with a special-edition Oreo Music Box, a cardboard record player that played traditional Chinese music when consumers placed an Oreo cookie on top.
Launching on Tmall's Super Brand Day, Oreo sold more than 760,000 boxes on its first day of sales alone. The campaign added over 260,000 new followers to its flagship store, attracting more followers in a single day than in all of 2018. Celebrity ambassador Wu Lei was invited to livestream his opinions on the flavours during a talk show in which he tried to guess what the new fillings were, which logged 1.5 million viewers.
As part of the campaign, the Mondelēz International brand created a stop-motion video featuring 10,600 Oreos assuming the form of the Forbidden City among other structures, which drew 110 million views overall.
Meanwhile, an interactive video delved into the 100-year history of Oreo against the backdrop of the origins of the legendary Forbidden City, gaining an additional 1.2 million views. On Weibo, user-generated content from the campaign was viewed more than 1.29 billion times.