#124 Oreos in China

Yes, granted, this is not the freshest and a lot may have happened since, but as I am constantly on the lookout for content that fits my interests, here it is: a segment on “Oreos in China” from CNBC’s “Made in China: The People’s Republic of Profit,” a one-hour original special reported by CNBC’s Melissa Lee (aired Wednesday, July 30th 2008). One has to hand it to the owner of the brand, Mondelez, that they did quite well on the adaptation to Chinese consumers’ tastes. Born in 1912 in New York, Oreos are still the world’s bestselling cookie with annual revenues of approximately USD 1.5 billion. In China, their success is due to being smart about local responsiveness – from working around pricing limitations to catering to different tastes. Today, they have moved even beyond the products that are featured in the video as one can see from visiting their Chinese website – from Mini Oreos with strawberry flavor to the Oreo birthday cake. Oreo is a good example for how companies can capture the middle ground between standardization and adaptation – adapt in some of the aspects of the marketing mix where it’s absolutely necessary or advantageous, but standardize as much as local conditions allow you to so that the integrity of the brand is not in jeopardy. Well done!

PS: NPR ran a similar feature in its Planet Money series, titled “Rethinking the Oreo for Chinese Consumers“. Definitely worth listening to as well.


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