Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

This company saved the world’s favorite cookie from an asteroid catastrophe. Here’s how! [Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing]

August 3, 2023

Miles Everson’s Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson:

I love guerrilla marketing! 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it yet, guerrilla marketing is a non-traditional marketing approach that involves creative and fun strategies to promote a product or brand.

Personally, I enjoy reading articles that feature such campaigns. They serve as a reminder that advertising a brand or introducing a new product doesn’t necessarily have to follow formal or conventional routes.

Ready to know more about today’s guerrilla marketing feature?

Keep reading below. 

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing 

“WARNING: Asteroid alert!”

In November 2020, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that an asteroid might slam into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Oh no… what would you try to save in line with this “doomsday” announcement?

Energy bars? 

Your favorite pair of jeans?

Your gadgets?

Your limited-edition sneakers?

We all have our own answers to this question.

… and similarly, this company has its own answer too.

In case of an apocalypse, Oreo would do everything it can to preserve its famous cookie recipe. So, the company built the epic…

Oreo Doomsday Vault!

Photo from The Community

For most of us, 2020 was a stressful year.

With a raging COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, and geopolitical tensions, it felt as if we were characters in an apocalyptic-themed movie. To make things worse, NASA reported that Asteroid 2018VP1 would strike the Earth’s atmosphere in that same year.

So, a concerned Twitter user tweeted: 

Photo from D&AD

Talk about priorities!

Although there was an extremely slim chance—0.41%, to be precise—of the asteroid hitting our beloved planet, Oreo wasn’t willing to risk a future without one of the world’s favorite snacks.

So, the company built a concrete doomsday vault in a permafrost region where they stored the cookies.

How did Oreo do it?

In 2008, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault was built to serve as a final lifeline in case of a complete loss of plant life on Earth. The facility was made on the side of a mountain in Svalbard, Norway, and has more than 930,000 seed varieties, originating from almost every country in the world.

Inspired by the famous vault, Oreo created a smaller version to preserve the cookie recipe and deliver a heroic marketing stunt.

The campaign involved building an “asteroid-proof” facility near the Global Seed Vault, filling it with a stockpile of Oreo cookies, and documenting the entire process of making the vault come to life.

Through YouTube, the company released a series of mockumentary-style videos featuring Oreo executives portrayed by actors and some Mondelez employees. The videos documented the journey of Markus Thorland, a Norwegian architect assigned to design and build the vault in 30 days.

These recordings let the public know how willing Oreo was to go the extra mile to safeguard its cookies in case of a global catastrophe.

What else did the campaign team do?

They utilized Instagram and Twitter by dropping playful teasers about their plan to save the Oreo cookies. Fans, in turn, expressed their gratitude, relief, and anticipation about Oreo’s campaign.

To further drive campaign engagement, the brand gave fans a sneak peek into the asteroid-proof facility, which stored the cookies and powdered milk. 

Photo from The Community

Photo from The Community

To make everything more entertaining, Oreo released a statement:

“As an added precaution, the Oreo packs are wrapped in mylar, which can withstand temperatures from -80 degrees to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and is impervious to chemical reactions, moisture and air, keeping the cookies fresh and protected for years to come.”

This meant regardless of what could happen in the coming years, the Oreo cookies would survive. 

The company also asserted that despite appearing to be a sole marketing stunt, the vault is indeed a real structure that can be visited until today. 

Was Oreo’s “Doomsday Vault” campaign effective?

The guerilla marketing campaign took advantage of a global event by comically “creating social buzz and taking swift and measured action to protect Oreo cookies at any length, all while inviting fans and other brands to get in on the fun.” 

It didn’t take long for people to respond to this out-of-the-box marketing strategy after encountering it on social media. The more Oreo shared images and videos, the greater the curiosity it sparked. Questions after questions were asked about the vault and the cookies.

According to the company:

“Oreo is a brand that’s constantly finding new ways to tap into the cultural zeitgeist. And while culture may change, the fact that Oreo is loved across the country does not. Our social approach was to playfully insert the love for Oreo into a new and relevant context (the impending asteroid) and drive social buzz among fans throughout the journey. We took this one step further by creating elements that captured consumer attention, like customized packaging for the stockpile of Oreo.”

Aside from the overwhelmingly positive reactions from Oreo lovers, the brand received tons of praise and rewards because of its marketing stunt.

Here are the results of the campaign:

  • Just 5 days after its launch, the campaign created more than 40 pieces of multi-platform social content, which resulted in nearly 4 million organic impressions, over 324,000 video views, and 178,000 engagements.
  • Oreo’s Instagram post that showed the special Oreo packs wrapped in limited-edition casing drove a 72% engagement rate.
  • Oreo earned 416 media placements, 99% of which featured more than 2 key messages of the campaign. Additionally, 75% of online stories from different sites incorporated the vault film.
  • The brand garnered over 78 million unique viewers per day (UVPD) and was featured on various media outlets including Ad Age, Adweek, Fox Business, CNET, Food & Wine, and more.

The campaign also earned the following awards:

  • Bronze Winner in the 2020 Clio Awards
  • Merit in the 2021 One Show Awards
  • “Winner in Twitter” in the 2021 Shorty Awards
  • Reactive Response Shortlist Winner in the 2021 D&AD Awards
  • Platinum Winner in the 2021 MUSE Awards

Clearly, Oreo’s hard work and commitment to saving one of the world’s beloved cookie snacks have paid off. These results show that when you’re willing to go the extra mile to accomplish something, you will reap some sweet rewards!

Way to go, Oreo! 


Who would have thought that a NASA report would ignite the building of a cookie vault?

Based on today’s feature, it seemed like only Oreo could do that. 

… and that’s what we call creativity! The “Doomsday Vault” campaign showed that by setting the right goal, crafting a compelling message, and employing unconventional and fun ideas, a guerrilla marketing campaign is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on consumers.

We hope you found today’s guerrilla marketing feature interesting and inspiring!

Twist your brains and think of some out-of-the-vault marketing stunts you can apply to your own business too.

… and in case you’d like to visit Oreo’s “Doomsday Vault,” you’ll find it at the coordinates 78° 08′ 58.1″ N, 16° 01′ 59.7″ E in Svalbard, Norway. Hopefully, the Oreos haven’t gone stale by then!

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.)

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Thursdays: Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing”

Jay Conrad Levinson (1984) said that Guerrilla Marketing “works because it’s simple to appreciate, easy to execute, and inexpensive.”

Guerrilla Marketing is unconventional.

Looking beyond the traditional ways of advertising, marketers, and advertisers need to spice things up in order for their brand to have campaigns that not only make an impact but also stick to their target market’s mind.

Guerrilla Marketing usually aims to have direct contact with consumers.

This type of direct contact should spark an emotional reaction that leads to consumers effectively remembering the brand.

It’s about making a big impression and making that impression last a long time (if not forever).

Guerrilla Marketing can be inexpensive.

The effect of this is being able to create a buzz around the brand, and the strategy used to market it. Almost everything is passed around through word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth is one of the greatest outcomes and it usually doesn’t cost anything.

This is every business’ or brand’s dream!

Every Thursday, we publish tips, examples, and other useful content on unconventional ways of marketing and promotion.

Learn more about how to grab your target market’s attention and make an amazing first and lasting impression without having to spend a lot of money.

Businesses don’t really need to spend much for a guerrilla campaign. You do not need a big budget to be successful. You just need creativity and a good imagination.

Hope you’ve found this week’s guerrilla marketing insight interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Gorillas of Guerrilla Marketing!


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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