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Oreos Pulls a Genius Social Media Move by Freaking People Out

Sometimes giving an outrageous rumor running room pays off in more media than you can afford.

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BY Erik Sherman - 07 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Mondelez, the manufacturer of Oreos cookies, has made marketing mistakes at times. Like when it sent out single nickel-sized mini Oreos to households as samples. Even splitting the top and bottom wouldn't make them go far.

But the company is usually savvy, particularly when it comes to social marketing. It pulled off 40 million likes on for Oreos. And when its Honey Maid graham crackers brand used a same-sex couple with child in an ad and was buffeted with hate mail, Mondelez turned the entire thing into a viral win with a brilliant YouTube video.

So forgive me if I raise an eyebrow at the reports about how avocado Oreos might be the next flavor to show up in stores. There is something going on -- Mondelez is making itself beloved by consumers while trolling the press and getting attention for a big promotion that won't be over for another week.

Mondelez has been running a promotion called the #MyOreo Creation Contest. People submit flavor ideas and someone, whose idea is chosen, will walk away with $500,000. Sweet. Literally.

People have sent in all sorts of ideas, as you might expect. Apparently Mondelez made limited batches of some for the people who made the suggestions. The flavors include:

• coffee

• salted caramel

• carrot cake

• pineapple upside-down cake

• popcorn

• cherry cola

• raspberry danish

• nut n' honey

• kettle corn

And, in addition, galaxy, unicorn, and ... avocado. Galloping green glob, the last one sounds terrible. (And I'm hoping no unicorns were hurt, either.) That led to people getting some of these and a few media outlets running headlines like Avocado Oreos Are A Thing Now, So If You'll Excuse Me I Have To Go Leave The Planet and Oreo Is Making Avocado, Unicorn, and Carrot Cake Fan-Requested Flavors.

Some in the media are either over-reacting, having fun, or both. But, not to worry, there is no way Mondelez is going to mass produce avocado Oreos, with or without corn chip-flavored cookies and a suggestion to dip in glasses of salsa. This seems like a smart way to get positive attention from customers who post about getting their suggested flavor, manage media coverage, and extend attention for the contest. Plus, the contest doesn't end until July 14.

Not to doubt how far some people will go, including eating avocado sandwiched between two Oreo cookies, like in the video below.

Overall a smart move -- the marketing twist, not necessarily this video. However, there is one place Mondelez may have messed up on the social front -- the domain oreos.com is owned by someone else and available for anyone who wants to pay enough. But, to put everyone's minds at ease, no one has avocadooreo.com. Yet. Sometimes you have to look toward the little things in life.