[infographic] How Oreo Took a Controversial Stand and Achieved an Epic Social Media Win
August 8, 2014 • 5 min read
Updated on September 18, 2019
This post originally appeared on the Pivotcon blog on the 17th July. It has been republished in its entirety here. Graphics created by the Pivotcon team.
On June 25th, Oreo dropped an unexpected bombshell on its community: a post on their Facebook page which came out in full support for Gay Pride. Most consumer packaged goods wouldn’t touch a topic like this, but perhaps the social media team at Kraft were emboldened by the positive response Obama received for his post about same-sex marriage (which broke a few Facebook records along the way).
No doubt there were some tense meetings at Kraft HQ as the support split and divided opinion. As the national networks picked up the Oreo post, the brand received universal coverage. Fortunately for Kraft, there is a good amount of evidence that suggests it was not just well received, but will have a positive impact on the brand.
Here are a few key social media takeaways from Oreo’s Gay Pride cookie post:
- It was the most engaging post Oreo has posted in the last 6 months
- It has been the most engaging post in the Food & Beverage sector in the last 6 months
- Oreo has seen an increase in fan engagement since the Gay Pride cookie post
- 8-fold increase in posts by fans since the Gay Pride cookie post
- Oreo has seen positive sentiment of fan posts double since the Gay Pride cookie post
- Oreo has seen a significant increase in fan growth rate since the Gay Pride cookie post
As a result of all of the above, it pushed Oreo to #1 position into an extensive table of Food & Beverage brands, based on the Unmetric Score.
The graph below shows how much engagement the Oreo Facebook Page received before and after the Gay Pride cookie post. The Food & Beverage Sector Average Engagement is given as a benchmark. Oreo was already engaging slightly better than the Sector Average, but Oreo posts after the Gay Pride one have been engaging far better. The Engagement score is based off weighted values for comments, shares, likes, and fan page posts.
The graph below illustrates just how well the Gay Pride cookie post has done in relation to other popular posts from Oreo in the last 6 months. Even the 100 year celebration post (Oreo sold its first cookie in 1912) only managed around 14% of the engagement.
Let the fans speak
Oreo is one of the most popular brands on Facebook in terms of fan count with only Disney, Coca Cola, Starbucks and a few others leading ahead. Oreo currently has over 27m fans so high growth cannot be expected at this level. However, Oreo has enjoyed a slight increase in growth since the Gay Pride cookie post, pushing them from 26m to 27m fans.
As can be expected, a major brand coming out in full support for Gay Pride will generate huge amounts of interest. Before the cookie post, there were 1,015 fan posts on Oreo’s Facebook page, after the cookie post, Oreo saw an 8-fold increase with 8,664 fans.
Supporting Gay Pride is a divisive issue. Some people were shocked, others felt Oreo shouldn’t have gotten involved, some fans were delighted that Oreo took a stand and, of course, a big section of society will continue eating the cookies anyway.
Tracking the sentiment is one way Kraft can judge the impact the Gay Pride cookie post had on their fans. We’ve already seen that it caused an 8-fold increase in fans posting on Oreo and that most of these fan posts were about Gay Pride, but the graph below shows that the positive sentiment in those posts has more than doubled from before-hand.
Oreo Sector Performance
Oreo competes in a very tough sector where brands have global presences, huge followings and fantastic loyalty from fans. Coca Cola, Skittles, Red Bull, Pringles and Dr. Pepper are just some of the big names Oreo is competing with on social media. However, since January, they have been steadily moving up the social media ranking of the Food & Beverage sector. In June, Oreo finally cracked the number one position, knocking long term leader, Coca Cola, from the leader board. This can almost entirely be attributed to the Gay Pride cookie post since fan growth increased, engagement increased, sentiment increased and fan posts increased as a result.
Oreo took a calculated risk by making a stand on a socially divisive issue, but if the social media data is anything to go by, it is a risk they took and won. Now, I wonder how long it will be before rainbow colored cookies hit the shelves of Target and Walmart?
The Unmetric platform was used to gather the data. Data was taken for the two weeks prior to the Gay Pride cookie post (10th June – 24th June) and two weeks after the post (26th June – 10th July). The Engagement Scores are calculated based on the number of Likes, Comments, Shares and Impressions a post receives. The Unmetric Score is a scientific blend of 24 quantitative and qualitative measurements, weighted and balanced to produce a single unifying score that accurately represents the social media efforts of big brands around the world.