Adwatch (8 June): Top 20 recall - Oreo gets tongues wagging

US cookie brand is trying to teach old dogs new tricks with its unsavoury 'lick race' ad.

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'Mmmmm, cookie!' The famous words of Sesame Street's Cookie Monster shall always be the most poignant expression of man's desire for a sugary treat, in my mind.

Oreos are a global success and have transcended the status of a mere cookie, cornering a space between biscuit and confectionery. Even giant brands like McDonald's are looking to get in on the action by offering up Oreo-based ice creams and the like.

Oreo's 'lick race' ad continues the concept that the brand has been running globally for some years, primarily in the US.

This spot is clearly really a US ad - nothing wrong with that if you want viewers to know your product is American and reinforce your US credentials. However, the US is not necessarily the country we look to when considering food choices, especially for children.

It's a curious spot. The rules I've always adhered to are: make the product appetising, the consumption enjoyable and, yes, bring a product truth and consumer insight to the forefront. So it's bang on with the product truth, but appetising? Absolutely not. It gives me a sore tongue watching them furiously licking away like demented Labradors. And then what ... you're going to show me the lovely biscuit you've just been licking? Mmm, thanks.

The whole thing is rather unsavoury. There is a reason people don't walk around with their tongues out - it's because no one wants to see them.

Can you imagine a Cadbury's Flake ad if tongues got involved? I can, actually; funny, but wrong. It's not by chance that you won't have seen any other ads involving licking the product and then holding the half-consumed remains up to the camera.

I'm just not convinced that I need a demonstration of how to enjoy an Oreo. I'm capable of enjoying them without the step-by-step, twist, lick, show, dunk, eat, drink methodology.

We've been eating Jammie Dodgers and custard creams this way for years and didn't need ads to show us how.

There's nothing better than a curry and a pint, but I don't imagine for one moment that would be the premise of a good ad, watching someone down it all as fast as possible.

Having said that, the 'licking' phenomenon is abundant on YouTube, with people feeling it necessary to share their licking. So maybe it's just me, or maybe it's an English thing. My mum always told me not to play with my food, and mums know best.

As I head to the kitchen cupboard, I'm not surprised to see a few packets of Oreos have made it to base camp. It seems that, while I find the ad a bit of a turn-off, it's clearly not enough to turn me off the product.

'Mmmmm, cookie!'

Adwatch (8 June) Top 20 recall
Latest May-25 Brand Agency/TV Buyer Recall
rank       %
1 (–)





2 (–)  In-house/MEC 48
3= (–) Wickes  MWO/MEC 44
3= (–)


Crunchy Nut 

Leo Burnett/


5 (–) Volkswagen Passat 

Lowe Deutsch/


6= -3 DFS  Uber/MediaCom 40
6= (14=) Morrisons  DLKW Lowe/MEC 40
6= (–)  DLKW Lowe/Vizeum 40
9 (–) Marks & Spencer 


Walker Media

10= (–)

Rowntree's Sour


JWT London/


10= (–) Homebase 

Leo Burnett/


12= (–) McDonald's 

Leo Burnett/


12= (–) KFC 

Bartle Bogle Hegarty/

Walker Media

14= (–) Virgin Media 

DDB UK/Manning

Gottlieb OMD

14= (–) Oreo  Draftfcb/PHD 28
16= (–) Dreams  RKCR Y&R/Starcom 27
16= (–) Sure 

Lola Lowe Madrid/


18 (–) Vauxhall Corsa 

McCann Erickson/


19= (–) Sainsbury's 

Abbott Mead Vickers


19= -4 Tesco 

The Red Brick Road/