May 4/Northfield, Ill./PRNewswire -- On March 6, Oreo turned 100, and for its first seven decades, it was primarily a North American brand, with limited expansion into Developing Markets. While the brand grew double digits in developed regions like North America and Europe in 2011, Developing Markets is now the brand's leading growth engine. Today, OREO is sold in about 85 Developing Markets from China and India to Argentina and Mexico. Over the past five years, OREO has grown nearly 37% on average annually in Developing Markets, including gains of 50% in 2011. The brand is on track to reach $1 billion in annual revenues in Developing Markets this year.

"OREO is one of 10 power brands in Developing Markets where we put disproportionate focus and resource," said Sanjay Khosla, president, Developing Markets. "After its first 95 years, OREO had less than $200 million in annual revenues in Developing Markets. And by the end of 2012, we plan to make OREO a billion-dollar Developing Markets success -- nearly five times the net revenues of just five years ago."

Three key strategies helped transform OREO from an American favorite to a truly global icon.

The original OREO cookie has not changed much since its introduction -- two round chocolate cookie wafers joined by sweet vanilla creme filling. It remains the top-selling variety of OREO cookies worldwide.

However, using a "glocal" approach that combined the best of global with the best of local, OREO tapped into local market insights to grow sales incrementally with innovative local flavors, forms and limited edition seasonal items. OREO comes in a variety of local flavors in markets around the world, such as OREO green tea ice cream in China or OREO Duo in Argentina with banana and dulce de leche creme. OREO also is enjoyed in fun shapes and forms such as Triple Double OREO in the U.S., OREO Wafer Rolls in China and the OREO Trio in Mexico. In the U.S, OREO delights kids of all ages with seasonal items, including those celebrating Halloween, spring and American football.

Over the years, the makers of OREO learned that the iconic "twist, lick, dunk" ritual was adored around the world and that slowed-down, carefree family moments were increasingly rare and cherished by moms everywhere. With these global insights, the brand launched the first "moments" television advertising campaign in 1989 that captured the unique connections shared over OREO and milk. But for many years, the campaign in other markets consisted of U.S. ads that were quickly treated with a local voiceover or reshot with local talent. Beginning in 2008, the brand introduced ads that told culturally relevant, local stories, all the while keeping the global "twist, lick, dunk" framework at the forefront.

Kraft Foods accelerated OREO growth with several acquisitions that increased the brand's global footprint across Europe, Latin America and Asia. In 2006, the company acquired the Spanish and Portuguese operations of United Biscuits while regaining rights to all Nabisco trademarks, including OREO, in the European Union, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In 2007, Kraft Foods acquired Danone's global biscuit business, giving OREO a bigger footprint and enhanced biscuit capabilities in critical emerging markets such as China, Russia, Poland, Indonesia and Malaysia. Finally, the acquisition of Cadbury in 2010 increased the brand's global scale and distribution and enabled the launch of OREO in India.

 From the May 4, 2012, Prepared Foods’ Daily News