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Is China's Oreo Really an Oreo?

May 2 2008 - 12:45pm

If you're ever in China and have a strange craving for an Oreo cookie, you're going to be out of luck. According to the Wall Street Journal [1], back in 2005 Kraft Foods revamped its iconic cookie [2] there, replacing it with four thin crispy wafers, a layer of vanilla cream, thin layers of chocolate cream, and a coating of chocolate. The Chinese weren't keen on eating the traditional biscuit-style cookies, so Kraft — after testing 20 prototypes on consumers — changed the cookie to appeal to the masses.

Before the cookie transformation, Kraft Foods tried to reach out to consumers by creating a brand ambassador program that equipped university students with free Oreos and bicycles clad in wheel covers that looked like Oreos. However these marketing schemes didn't work, and the change became necessary. Now, with the new wafer version, China's Oreo sales have doubled in the last two years.

All of this is totally fascinating to me. It's interesting to see what brands have to do in order to appeal to foreign consumers. I understand adding new flavors and names. But does changing the product completely actually count? Isn't it, at that point, a completely new product? What do you think? Is it still an Oreo even if it doesn't look like a real one?

Source [3]

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