Oreo Makes People Smile with its “Stay Playful” Ads

Oreo makes people smile with its "Stay Playful" ads


You don’t have to go too far to find people who hate Oreo’s “Stay Playful” campaign, which is getting its second Ad Of The Week award. They hate its upbeat tone. They hate its unashamed use of “home video” style user-generated-content. And they particularly hate the folksy rapping from hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa. It’s the kind of cheerful ad which really seems too bug some people.

But the haters are in a definite minority. Oreo’s “2021 Anthem” dates back to January, but variants of it are still surfacing, and one of them hit our automated testing this week, gaining a top-scoring 5.5-Star Rating as well as strong short-term Spike and Brand Fluency scores. It’s a strongly branded, engaging campaign that makes viewers very happy.

One thing that works very well is the soundtrack – even though rap has been part of the American cultural landscape for more than 40 years, original raps are still an unpopular choice for advertisers. That’s partly because they can end up feeling like brands reaching desperately for ‘cool’. Oreo’s solution is smart – it’s got a rapper who knows how to do it well, and rhymes that are very obviously not trying for any sort of street cred. The result is an easy, laid-back, and yes, playful vibe that suits the campaign perfectly.

We’re now into the third year of “Stay Playful” and it’s consistently scoring well – it’s an approach that clearly resonates with American viewers who appreciate its light hearted attitude in difficult times. That also makes it unpopular occasionally with critics who see its executions as over-familiar or just plain corny. But repetition is advertising’s not-so-secret weapon, and the point at which ad critics are getting sick of a campaign is often the point at which it’s really starting to work.