NEW YORK CITY -- This year is the 100th anniversary of world-renowned Oreo cookies, and Kraft Foods is marking the occasion with events designed to "celebrate the kid inside."
The festivities got off to a fast start on March 6 -- 100 years to the day after the first Oreo rolled off the line at National Biscuit Co.'s Chelsea Market bakery in New York City. On that date this year, consumers in seven cities were surprised by "flash birthday parties." One staged in Los Angeles featured a performance by popular country music trio Lady Antebellum, who also led the crowd in singing "Happy Birthday" to the venerable sandwich cookie.
The Oreo team plans to keep the party going with in-store events and other promotions, including a range of online activities. Oreo fans can show the world how they have freed their inner children by posting photos, videos or stories to an online Oreo Moments Gallery, part of the oreo.com/birthday website, or to the Oreo Facebook fan page. A "Million Moments Meter" is keeping track of these entries; at this writing, 546,000 have been submitted.
Facebook fans also have a chance throughout 2012 to be featured for the brand's "Birthday of the Day." This turns the spotlight on a different fan on his or her birthday every day. Fans also can send personalized birthday greeting cards, including a customized greeting from Lady Antebellum, through Facebook to family and friends.
During the yearlong celebration, Kraft is offering retailers Oreo birthday-themed giveaways and sweepstakes, as well as point-of-sale materials including table tents, counter cards, in-store party invitations and more.
Nabisco dates back to 1898, when the United States Baking Co., the New York Biscuit Co. and the American Biscuit & Manufacturing Co. merged to become the National Biscuit Co. The name Nabisco first appeared on a cookie in 1901, but the corporate name did not change from National Biscuit Co. to Nabisco Inc. until 1971. Kraft Foods Inc. acquired the Nabisco business in December 2000.
Kraft brands are sold in some 170 countries. The company had 2011 revenue of $54.4 billion.