November 04, 2023



Post Cereals


            Oreo is a cookie first introduced by Nabisco in 1912 as an imitation of the Hydrox cookie manufactured by Sunshine Biscuits. It has always featured some kind of filling between two cookie pieces; only changing size (Double Stuf had double the crème, Big Stuf was a giant version sold individually, Mini were bit-sized, etc.), flavor in both the crème (lemon, mint, peanut butter, apple pie, etc.) and cookie (golden, vanilla, etc.), and cookie design over the years. It began life as “The Oreo Biscuit” before being renamed to “Oreo Sandwich” in 1921, “Oreo Crème Sandwich” in 1948, and finally “Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookie” in 1974 (the origin of the “Oreo” name itself remains a jumbled mystery). Oreos have also expanded to products other than cookies, including brownies, ice cream, candy bars, and, of course, cereal.

            Oreo O’s was first introduced in 1997 by Post Cereals, conceived by an Ogilvy & Mather NYC advertising employee. The cereal was made of chocolate donut-like cereal pieces covered in crème-flavored sprinkles. Early marketing for the cereal featured an ad campaign imply that the cereal was so in-demand, it created a run on milk. One of the earliest commercials featured Shia LaBeouf and Rachel Duncan as kids being “interviewed” by a reporter. The next campaign featured kids being able to see an Oreo O’s-themed paradise by looking through the cereal pieces. In 2001, marshmallow bits were added to give the cereal a new “extreme crème taste”. New CGI marshmallow mascots called The Crème Team were introduced in the commercials to promote this change. Premiums included a Nickelodeon U-Pick live Challenge Game and a free ticket to the film Rugrats in Paris featured in various Post cereals at the time; and a chance to win a cruise by finding a blue-sprinkled cereal piece.

The South Korean version.

            The cereal sold well enough for a decade. Unfortunately, behind the scenes circumstances saw an end to its production. Kraft, owner of both brands, sold off Post to Ralcorp Holdings in 2007, which meant they lost the rights to the cereals they produced before and Post lights access to the Oreo name. Interestingly, this wasn’t an issue in South Korea. Dongsuh Foods was a joint venture between General Foods (the parent company of Post) and Dongsuh Companies Inc., and they had the rights to produce Post’s cereals in the country. With Kraft’s purchase of General Foods, they became part owner of Dongsuh and thus the company was able to retain both licenses needed to continue production of Oreo O’s. An E. coli concern caused a recall of the cereal in 2014, but Dongsuh resumed its production in 2016.

The return varieties.

            As for the rest of the world, Oreo O’s would soon be making a comeback—which was probably welcome news to those who had been buying it off eBay or having friends in South Korea send them some. In 2012, Oreo’s parent company became Mondelēz International and talks were opened with Post on the cereal’s possible return. In 2017, Post tested the waters by releasing a cereal called “Cookies & Cream” through their Malt-O-Meal brand. They sold well, and through a marketing deal made by Walmart for exclusive rights for the first three months, Post announced that Nabisco could be co-branding the cereal with the original 1997 recipe—however, without the marbits. In 2018, it became widely available for all stores to carry; along with a new Golden Oreo variety by the middle of the year. In 2019, Walmart launched another exclusive with the return of the marbits in Mega Stuf Oreo O’s.

The original marshmallow variety.

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