Corporate Messaging in Every Cookie

JanetandPhil / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

In a recent discussion in my Strategic Writing course, we considered a company called Mondelēz International.  Actually, we started by looking at a snack-sized package of Oreo cookies.  The point of the dialogue was to consider what “corporate” messaging  means to a copywriter in the marketing department asked to develop material geared to sell snack-packs.

Now, you may not have heard of Mondelēz International, but if you took the time to click through on the link above, many of the brands featured in the animation will prove familiar.  And there in the midst is Oreo, a product that still bears the Nabisco logo on the package (which ends up being a brand between other brands).

Further, if you look at the current packaging (which we did, and somehow the cookies never got back to me…), one can find the Kraft brand logo on the back.  This parent brand logo on the back wouldn't even be worth mentioning if not for the fact that Kraft spun off its snack brands into a completely new and separate company in October 2012 - Mondelēz International.  So either the cookies we were working with were pretty old, or Mondelēz is taking its time working through the old packaging stock. But I digress.

Without taking time to dig deep into the online presence of Mondelēz, I asked the class to decide what underlying corporate message seemed evident from the one page we viewed and how it should impact the writing of cookie copy.  Someone noted that the type treatment of the corporate name looked European, and others noted the unfamiliar brands in the mix.  A quick look at the company facts yields the knowledge that 80% of Mondelēz sales are outside the U.S.

What this means to the cookie promoter writing for the domestic market is it may be in the greater interest of the company to infuse a tone that acknowledges this broader corporate identity.  While this may take the form, eventually, of a tagline (“Part of a world of snacks from Mondelēz International”), it may also be less obviously enforced in the choice of characters and storyline used (international travelers picking up familiar Oreos at U.S. airports).

The ultimate point of course, is that even in the most granular product marketing message, there are elements that should be considered regarding how that message connects back to the image and brand positioning of the corporation.  Certainly we can sell cookies without acknowledging the parent firm, but that would be missing an opportunity.