We all know a pet named Oreo – a black and white, adorable and furry companion for life. But what you may not know is that in the UAE, many of these adorable pets are being abandoned, leaving many Oreos in shelters. To show appreciation for its brand name being used to name these amazing animals – and to support some furry friends in finding new homes – OREO partnered with Saatchi & Saatchi to create ‘Oreo & Friends’.
In the campaign and website which supports the rehoming cause, the audience is witness to adorable videos, pictures and glimpses into the wonderful personalities of dogs, cats and rabbits with the name ‘Oreo’. Not only is the cookie company shining a light on these animals, but it also partnered with K9 Friends and Yanni Animal Welfare to ensure each one of these pets in need are able to find loving homes.
The supporting custom packaging and QR codes for the campaign were a hit with the cookie company’s audience - the packs selling out and the QR codes showing how easy it is to adopt an animal into your own home. Also inspired by the perfectly round shape of the treats, circles were illustrated into the motifs, representing each of the three animals and tying together the black and white theme of the campaign.
Saatchi & Saatchi MEA’s creative director Alok Mohan, associate creative director Anika Marya and senior copywriter Katie Handfelt tell LBB’s Nisna Mahtani about their experiences working with Oreos - who came in the form of dogs, cats and rabbits – and why you should consider adopting them.
LBB> When you first heard that Oreo was the sixth most common name for pets, what was your reaction?
Alok> It was one of those moments where you were like wait, why didn’t we make this link before? We realised most of us knew someone who at some point had a pet named Oreo. We were surprised (and glad) that no one had made the connection before.
LBB> Following on from that, when the abandonment of these animals became more apparent, what was the initial idea for the campaign? And how did that evolve?
Alok> Imagine having someone named after you. It’s a huge honour. The team at OREO had the same feeling when they found out. We were looking for ways to say ‘thank you’ to the world, for naming their beloved pets after a cookie. But when we realised that pets were being abandoned, we realised there was no better way to thank pet lovers than by helping the homeless pets around us find a loving home.
LBB> The pictures on the bringhomeoreo.com website are just adorable! How did you capture such unique, personality-filled poses from each one of the animals?
Anika> Shelter pets are the stars in ‘Oreo & Friends’, and their pictures on our website are the first point of contact, so we knew it had to be special. It was the first time any of us had shot with animals, but given that the entire team was full of animal lovers, we had a very comfortable, fun shoot.
LBB> I know this must be a tough question but who was your favourite animal to photograph? Did you build a bond with any of them?
Anika> Everyone bonded with a different animal, the pets picked who they were most comfortable with and who they were drawn to. I’m more of a dog person but would make an exception for the twin Oreo cats. In fact, two of the cats on the website might just find a home within our agency and the Groupe.
LBB> You feature dogs, cats and rabbits – why was it important to have all three animals on show?
Katie> We know not everyone can have a dog or cat. It could be because of building requirements, allergies, or just family members that aren’t too fond of animals. So we wanted to be as inclusive as possible to ensure almost everyone was able to find an animal they would be able to bring home.
LBB> Now, let’s talk about the reimagined logos and images for the campaign. What was the process of creating the OREO-inspired dog, cat and rabbit mascots?
Anika> We aimed for the design language to be minimal and graphic while still ownable by the brand. Every animal was made using the same four sizes of circles, inspired by an actual OREO cookie. There was a lot of trial and error while arranging and playing with them so the design was consistent, looked like adorable animals and was still charming all at the same time.
LBB> And what about the reimagined packaging? How did you turn that into homes for these pets?
Katie> The idea was always centred around the fact that we want to find homes for these animals and we wanted every part of our idea (including the packaging) to hint at that. So we decided to play upon the little homes you usually see for these animals, like dog houses and kennels, and show how easy it is to find an animal to fill your home just by scanning the QR code on the pack.
LBB> What has the reaction to this campaign been like so far?
Alok> It’s been amazing! We have had hundreds of enquiries so far and are hoping to finalise adoption procedures on a lot of the pets in the coming days, thanks to our partners at K9 and Yanni. Our limited-edition packs were sold out on the first day and we had to print and release more packs asap.
LBB> Is there anything you’d tell people who are interested in adopting these furry friends?
Katie> Go meet them! We had so much fun playing with all the animals on the shoot and it really became clear that there’s no way to capture their big personality in pictures. Once you get to see, pet, and play with them, it’s really clear how much they would add to your life.
LBB> Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Alok, Anika & Katie> It’s been a really exciting project. It took a huge team from Saatchi & Saatchi and Publicis Groupe with the leadership of Ramzi Sleiman, Sebastien Boutebel and Gautam Wadher to bring ‘Oreo & Friends’ to life in all its different aspects – from crafting the work, to collaboration between the different departments. The agency has a goal to create opportunities for all our brands and ‘Oreo & Friends’ is a testament to how we work together to do just that.