Brand Strategy Marketing

Why Oreo is applying AI technology to its India expansion plans

By Amit Bapna, APAC editor-at-large

August 10, 2023 | 5 min read

Global food and snack company Mondelez recently launched its latest brand campaign in India – an AI-led iteration of its ‘Say It With Oreo’ platform. The Drum spoke with vice-president of marketing Nitin Saini about how its flagship cookie brand is taking its playful messaging around the globe.

Oreo's AI-led cookie approach

Oreo's AI-led cookie approach with the celebrity Farhan Akhtar

Cookie brand Oreo has had an interesting trajectory across geographies. From launching in the USA in 1912, today its home country is rivaled by China, which is now its second-biggest market, while India – where it has only been available for around 10 years – “is already its third or fourth biggest market, despite such a short journey,” says Nitin Saini, Mondelez India’s vice-president of marketing

Global brands constantly have to work towards becoming locally relevant and relatable in different markets. Oreo has also had the job of bringing to life the global positioning of playfulness across various markets, keeping in line with the local markets and the cultural context, adds Saini.

Keeping in line with the brand positioning, its brand platform ‘Say it with Oreo’ was launched last year, under which many iterations continue to be launched. “The current rendition is the 2.0 version of the platform with a different creative idea”, shares Saini. “In India, the brand started the journey around tech-enabled personalization started about three years back.”

Tech-enabled personalized storytelling has been an ongoing pursuit of the brand – part of a playbook that has worked well for it. The last few creative campaigns by parent company Mondelez for its various brands won at Cannes this year, Ogilvy India taking a Grand Prix for creative effectiveness with the much-celebrated ‘SRK-My-Ad’ for Cadbury Celebrations. That campaign was pitched as “bringing personalization at scale together with generosity at scale” says Saini.

Making AI work intelligently for the brand

The current campaign and activation involve the launch of limited-edition packs of Oreo, each with a QR code that, once scanned, takes the consumer to a microsite where they can ask questions and receive customized answers featuring a fun and playful message for various situations, serious or quirky. The face of the campaign is the famous Bollywood actor and director Farhan Akhtar.

The campaign has deployed generative artificial intelligence to generate these playful answers, which are sent to a voice-cloning AI engine, leading to the playback of the answer in Farhan Akhtar’s voice.

The brand campaign has been conceptualized by Leo Burnett India, one of the two creative agencies handling the Mondelez portfolio in India, the other being Ogilvy India.

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According to Mayuresh Dubhashi, ‪group executive creative director of Leo Burnett India: “This campaign continues the brand’s tradition of having a bit of fun, having a POV on culture, bringing unexpected things together and spreading play along the way.”

Dubhashi adds that it has been a campaign of many firsts for the brand: “Deployment of AI to solve for a human need, debugging and then debugging some more, shooting unconventional films, getting Farhan Akhtar to just talk for hours about life in general to collect raw data of his voice.”

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