On Thursday, The Washington Post’s Dan Zak championed the gay-boosting “Rainbow Oreo” – with Kraft on its Oreo Facebook page sounding the liberal note “Proudly support love!” Zak sold this as a great moment for gays, Big Business, and Obama: “Gays are just as susceptible to clever marketing as straights. At long last! Equality under commercialization....A cultural moment — galvanized politically by President Obama’s May endorsement of same-sex marriage — is being validated and exploited economically by big business over and over again."
Zak did not think of asking: If Kraft is such a courageous genius of corporate marketing, why haven’t they ever marketed their classic cookies to America’s Christian majority rather than a tiny gay minority?
Why don’t they make Christmas Oreos and Easter Oreos? Instead they sell “Winter Oreos” and “Spring Oreos.” Zak could only make fun of the “eternal hellfire” they’ll face for edginess:
What’s next (besides eternal hellfire)?
Probably more gay advertising.
The risk-reward equation for corporate advocacy has changed over time, says Bob Witeck, president of the District-based Witeck Communications, which specializes in the gay and lesbian consumer markets.
What’s the worst thing that could happen to Kraft?
A denouncement from a special-interest group like One Million Moms, which recommended boycotting J.C. Penney for its “sinful nature.” (The company, undeterred and still solvent as of press time, retained DeGeneres as a spokeswoman.)
What’s the best thing?
An army of people sends your product around the Internet, and your century-old brand suddenly seems cutting-edge.
“Companies are looking at the reputation leaders of today, the Googles of the world,” Witeck says. “Google’s already changing their iconography constantly. They keep it relevant but update it to connect to different audiences. That intersection of fun and loyalty is important to get to.”
The post on Oreo’s Facebook page encouraged a high-volume debate rife with misspellings, indignation and hysterical punctuation.
There you have it: The Washington Post and Dan Zak saying religious conservatives are (by and large) a bunch of angry, hysterical misspellers. The Post is apparently a genius at “cutting edge” marketing, too. It might explain why the Post circulation keeps slipping. But they don’t really want to sell papers to stupid Christians, anyway, right?
On the top of the front of the Style section, the Post touted Kraft's news release patting themselves on the back: "It shows how relevant OREO is to people even after 100 years." The headline inside on page 2 was "Monster cookie provides food for thought: Although a marketing ploy, rainbow Oreo is part of a cultural wave." This was the actual pitch by Kraft:
“We are excited to illustrate what is making history today in a fun and playful way,” says Basil T. Maglaris, associate director of corporate affairs for Kraft, in an e-mail that toes the company’s sunny line. “Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the OREO ad is a fun reflection of our values. There has been a lot of buzz about the image, and it shows how relevant OREO is to people even after 100 years.”
This also marks when liberal journalists get all warm and fuzzy about merely repeating corporate press releases.