• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Has the Oreo brand become diluted?

As I’ve stated before, I have a terrible weakness when it comes to junk food. Incidentally, the Oreo cookie, with its wonderfully delicious chocolaty wafer and vanilla crème center, once ranked on my highest tier of saccharin goodness.

As a child, I was a fan of pulling my Oreo cookies apart and savoring the particular side fortunate enough to catch the largest piece of vanilla crème.

They’re simple yet perfect cookies — one of Nabisco’s home runs.

oreo-cookieSo, if these Oreo cookies were home runs for Nabisco, why is it operating the Oreo brand with so much fear these days?

The reason I pose this question is that, recently, Nabisco has made a barrage of variations to its classic Oreo cookie theme. Right now, the selection of Oreos in the supermarket no longer takes up a normal sized portion of the cookie shelf. They now consume the entirety of the shelf from floor to the ceiling. It seems like Nabisco is afraid we are going to forget all about the Oreo.

Honestly, who can forget about the Oreo cookie?

Here is just a small listing of the many new and unnecessary Oreo cookies now on the shelves:

Triple Double Chocolate
Spring Chocolate
Oreo Chocolate
Pure Milk Chocolate
Golden Double Stuff
Golden Uh-Oh with Chocolate Cream
Double Stuff Chocolate
Reduced Fat
Chocolate Fudge Sundae (The Limited Edition)
Easter
Halloween
Chocolate Mint ’n Crème

Why exactly do we suddenly need this many options?

Take a look at Oreo’s webpage. In year’s past, its product line may have been entirely featured on one webpage. Now, Oreo has an astonishing six pages worth of products. This seems ridiculous to me.

What does this all mean?

Clearly, Nabisco is overextending the brand. To understand your brand means having the confidence to recognize what it is that you do well. In a shaky marketplace, it can be easy to forget that. Nabisco does the Double Stuff Oreo and Regular Oreo cookie really well. They should stick with that and do so confidently. Otherwise, it threatens to dilute the Oreo brand itself, if it’s not already. Think of how powerful of a brand Cheerios used to be until it had so many variations of it that the Cheerios brand has become basically meaningless.

Adding too many options only complicates our shopping experience and ultimately weakens the reasons we were attracted to the brand in the first place. Surely, Nabisco doesn’t want to do that.

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