As of late, I’ve noticed giant billboards around Ljubljana–which are usually plastered with a variety of local images–covered with ads for Oreos.
Gone are some of the political campaign images, concert promotionals, or tourist destination ads. In their place? A royal blue background with larger-than-life (larger-than-human, actually) images of those crunchy, dry little chocolate cookie/crackers with the too-sweet white filling.
I remember eating Oreos as a kid, as they were often given as a snack in school or after-school activities by kind parents or teachers who wanted to give us a something tasty. Oreos are a kid-approved favorite.
“Ewww,” I remember saying under my breath, whenever I was handed an Oreo. I was never a big fan of anything chocolate. Now that I’m older I have grown to love things like hot chocolate or a warm, American-style chocolate chip cookie, but it’s rare that I crave the fake chocolatey taste of something like an oreo. I’m also not a fan of butter cream frosting at all, and the insides of Oreos strike me as a cheap imitation of something I can barely tolerate. I blame my mother for being such a good cook that even as a 7-year-old I snubbed snacks other kids loved, dreaming instead of a light, airy whipped-cream on the top of a cake, or warm peanut butter cookies straight out of the oven with tiny Hershey’s kisses in the middle.
(In a fun twist which proves my mother’s genius, she convinced me that eating pieces of cheese and deli meat in an ice-cream cone was also a dessert-style snack. I was very gullible, but I should be noted that I was at least a very healthy child!)
In any case, here come the Oreos, invading Slovenia. I saw them on the shelves of my local Mercator grocery store the other day. I can’t tell if they’ve always been there and Nabisco has just randomly decided to make a big marketing push right now, or if they’ve just recently arrived here.
When I was shopping for my Pust costume (more on that in a future blog), I went to InterSpar, the giant grocery store at BTC (Europe’s biggest shopping mall complex) that would put a Super Wal-Mart to shame. Inside the InterSpar were giant cardboard displays of Oreos, and cards manned by pleasant-voiced sales ladies in blue aprons, handing out half an Oreo in a small plastic cup. Walking through the mall, I saw someone dressed as a giant Oreo milling about, not doing much of anything, but just kind of, you know, being an Oreo in a mall.
Weird, I thought to myself, as I finished my shopping. Then, today, I decided to buy a small box of Oreos to bring on my weekend vistit to Kočevje. I won’t stand by them as the best little cookies in the world, but it will be fun to see what my cousin thinks! After all, they weren’t that expensive, and even though I’m not a huge fan, so many other Americans like them that bringing them with me on my visit just seemed like a cool thing to do.
Clearly, the marketing is working.