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Oreo Piggybacked on Got Milk?

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

Oreo has a 78% brand awareness in the USA.

But this wasn't always the case. Brands aren't born with a high market penetration. Nope.

So, how did Oreo make this happen? Besides their awesome moment marketing.


Oreo piggybacked on one of the most successful campaigns of all time — the Got Milk? campaign

A short history of the got milk? campaign

The California's Dairy Processors were concerned. Milk demand was falling each year. So the non-profit decided to pool in a total of $20 million dollars and recruit a marketing agency to drive up the overall demand for milk.

The agency did market research and found these insights:

  1. The 'milk is good for health' messaging wasn't resonating. Messaging had to be intellectual. You had to tell people the truth.

  2. Milk was always consumed with other products like 'milk and cereal', or 'milk and chocolate chip cookies'. Milk wasn't the hero, the other product was. It was more like 'cereal and milk' or 'chocolate chip cookie and milk". These were 'trigger moments' in people's lives that could remind them of milk .

  3. People don't like to run out of milk. There are certain things in life you appreciate more when you don't have it. Milk was one these.

  4. They ran a classic deprivation marketing strategy. Now known as "got milk?".

Eventually, got milk? hit the jackpot. People started coining their own phrases like "Got beer?" or "Got cupcakes".


Got Milk? asked Oreo out first.

When Got Milk? rose to fame, their agency decided to do a co-marketing campaign with the other complementary products. Oreo being one of them.


But then, Oreo never let milk get away.

Oreo created a new tagline "Milk's Favorite Cookie" to piggyback on the popularity of milk consumption.

These trigger moments are important because every time people think of milk, they should think of Oreo.

They kept this slogan for years.

Piggybacking Takeaway 🐷 You don't need to create your own incredibly successful "Got Milk?" campaign. Try to find one that is already successful, and see if you can piggyback on theirs instead.


Oreo found another horse to ride — all desserts

People now use Oreo as an ingredient instead of simply treating it just as a cookie eaten separately.

This drives up the volume per capita for Oreo, and it adds a lot of trigger moments.

Imagine seeing an Oreo Cheesecake, Oreo Milkshake, Oreo Kunafa, literally on every dessert menu.

This is an insane amount of free publicity and marketing touchpoints.

Piggybacking Takeaway 🐷 You don't need to piggyback forever. Once they help you get to your destination, you can pick another horse to ride


Applying these lessons to your business

  1. Find trigger moments that people use with your product. For example, Streamline (a graphic assets pre-made library) is used in Figma. Yours could be a product that is used with Shopify.

  2. Next, find ways to piggyback. For example, it could doing generic stuff like creating templates, plugins, or getting featured in awards. Or it could be something much wild and creative.

  3. Finally, see if you really have to partner with them or can you piggyback without it.

  4. After you piggyback, re-evaluate if you need the partner or need a new partner.

  5. If you want to extend the ROI of your piggybacking investment, try to make sure it's a win-win for both parties. The host and the guest.

Let me know if you have more questions in the comments below and we can brain-write together.

This post is inspired by Tagline's podcast. Opinions above are all my own and not of Tagline.

Btw, I'm trying to better understand who my audience is. If you've got ten minutes, I would love to do a user research call:



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