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Oreo’s full-page Times of India ad leads to a ‘comedy of errors’

The biscuit brand’s ad this Dussehra was an exact replica of the TOI's front page from its April 3, 2011 edition, which featured a lead story about India's victory over Sri Lanka

Biscuit brand ad Oreo’s full-page ad on Time of India’s front page on Dussehra caught people’s attention, but it also confused the masses and leading media houses and resulted in what can only be called a ‘comedy of errors’.

Oreo’s ad this Dussehra was an exact replica of the TOI's front page from its April 3, 2011 edition, which featured a lead story about India's victory over Sri Lanka.

Subsequently the second major story on the page was CBI's accusation of 2G scam participants, including former Union Minister A Raja.

The ad led to a wire agency being caught unaware and it carried out a full-blown report on the 2G scam, allegedly based on the ‘ad’ which TOI’s front-page carried. Several leading media houses too went ahead and uploaded the copy from the agency on their websites, leading to more confusion and chaos.

Jency Jacob, Managing Editor, Boom Live, made a thread, enlisting the fact that it the front page of TOI was ‘just an ad’, and the wire agency and other media houses had carried it on their websites without realising that the report was outdated.

Following this, the ad made headlines in numerous publications like Deccan Herald, Business Standard and IANS, who also put out stories based on the advertorial.

However, the wire agency and the media houses weren’t the only ones who couldn’t fathom the idea behind the print campaign, as it confused even more people.

In the following page, however, it had been clarified that the ad was being carried out as part of Oreo’s ‘Bringing Back the Times of 2011’ campaign. Also, apart from the decade-old content, there were two more clues on the page which indicated that the page was fake. The page mentioned the date ‘3 April 2011’ and Consumer Connect Initiative tag printed below the masthead.

The brand had also made a statement on the second page of the advertorial stating, “Today’s front page is not a mistake. TOI is joining Oreo to #BringBack2011 to help Team India bring back the Cup. Oreo is launching itself again in 2022 because when it launched in 2011, Team India won.”

In addition to this statement, page 2 also featured a large photograph of Anil Viswanathan, CMO of Mondelez India, and his interview with Sunainika Singh, director of Biscuits and Bakes.

Hence, why did Oreo decide to pull off this stunt? Turning the page will make it clear why.

The ICC T20 Men’s Cricket World Cup is scheduled from 16 October 2022 to 13 November 2022. In the same year that India won the ICC T20 men’s world cup, Oreo was launched. The brand decided to relaunch because it wanted to repeat its success.

Recently, to promote the relaunch of Oreo, brand ambassador MS Dhoni (the World Cup winning captain) had called a press conference a couple of weeks ago hence, before the actual cause could be ascertained, there was a lot of speculation already made by the media houses.

With the ongoing cricket season, biscuit brand Oreo has announced a new campaign #BringBack2011, to once again spark millions of playful moments amidst cricket-loving Indians.

With the latest campaign, the brand is giving a playful twist to cricket anticipation and preparations by going all out to recreate 2011 by launching itself again and helping India become the Cup champions again.

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