Patrick’s post cleverly explores many of the concepts presented in class and the problems inherent to advertising, especially regarding the effectiveness of social media campaigns. After viewing the commercial, my impression is that Oreo is directing this advertisement to its “consumption community,” a group advertisers frequently attempt to create and address. Historian Daniel Boorstin describes this type of community as being bound together by “the relations people establish with one another through the insignia of mass consumption” (Schudson 159). He is speaking about the imagined sense of belonging that many feel when they purchase the same good or are loyal to the same brand. Although one may never meet the other members of the community due to geographic disparities or other obstacles, one imagines they exist. I agree with Boorstin that a group can form around consumption habits, despite some academics suggesting otherwise. With the shift from traditional society to consumer society, goods became the mode we employ to present where we socially belong. They act as communicators that convey messages and impart information to others about ourselves. “Communications among persons, in which individuals send ‘signals’ to others about their attitudes, expectations, their sense of identity, values, intentions, and aesthetic expression, are strongly associated with, and expressed through, patterns of ownership, preference, display, and use of things” (Leiss et al. 4). Consumption is our standard way of life and we are defined by what and how we choose to consume or not consume. Individuals part of these communities believe that those who make the same purchasing decisions share the same relationship with the corporation and share the same values. Thus, they understand each other as a result of this commonality.

Oreo assumes that the viewers of this advertisement already buy its product. Only those who have eaten the cookie would understand the humor of the debate over which is the best part escalating in such a manner. Among Oreo lovers, there is a distinct divide between those who prefer the cream and those who prefer the cookie. Both sides are adamant about their position. Almost no one states that the combination of the two ingredients is their favorite. I believe Oreo is attempting to have fun with its consumer community by recognizing and dramatizing this longstanding dispute.

Although Patrick makes a valid point towards the end of his post about the uncertainty in measuring the economic success of advertising and social media, I do not believe that the main function of this advertisement was to boost sales in Oreos. If this was the case, the business would not have been targeting an audience who already buys the product. Sure, it would be great if these individuals bought more Oreos, but I think the company’s central goal for the advertisement was to humanize itself. In general, corporations are “…deemed greedy, inhuman, and uncaring” (Leiss et al. 75). By interacting with its consumption community and participating in the joke, Oreo shows that it values its customers. It presents itself as one of them and not as a faceless, money-hungry monster. Consumers enjoy knowing that they are appreciated and treasure the personal attention that their daily interactions increasingly lack. They are aware that many big businesses seek to take advantage of them for their own economic prosperity. Oreo is attempting to generate a trust with its consumers by engaging in activities that they already partake in like Instagramming to exhibit that the relationship is not only one way and that Oreo is listening to them. This advertisement humanizes and personalizes an abstract corporation whose massive scale and power may have worried consumers (Leiss et al. 74). As a result, Oreo eaters may be more likely to be loyal to the brand and its larger umbrella company, Kraft Foods. Although the ad did not make some people run out and buy Oreos immediately, the next time they are food shopping for cookies, they may choose Oreos over another brand because they know the company understands and values them.

Advertisements