I love a good branding story and the history of the Oreo cookie has plenty of fascinating hooks. The story starts with two feuding brothers, Joseph and Jacob Loose, who ran competing bakeries that came up with two cookies that were essentially the same: the Hydrox and the Oreo. For years the Hydrox dominated, until the 1950s when the brand Hydrox began to sound like many cleaning supplies on the market while the Oreo made two big strategic choices that propelled it to become “milk’s favorite cookie.” The first shift was increasing the price point so it seemed like a more premium cookie, and the second was to license it for use in other products, like Cookies & Cream ice cream. Of course, it probably helped that the cookie is reportedly as addictive as cocaine.
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Rohit Bhargava is a trend curator, founder of the Non-Obvious Company and the 3-time Wall Street Journal bestselling author of eight books.