Oreo is officially obsessed with drones. While publicity stunts are just that, this one stands out purely because the Oreo fandom over drone delivery has gotten more over-the-top than it already was.
And hey, it doesn’t hurt that The Drone Girl team loves Oreos just as much as we love drone, too.
So here’s what happened in the Oreo company’s latest obsession with drones: the company build a two-foot version of an Oreo cookie. It then delivered the cookie in an unconventional way — dunking it in a six-foot tall cup of milk via drone. Watch it here:
The impetus for the PR stunt, which was held in tandem with retail giant Walmart? It was to celebrate the fact that Walmart has crossed the 10,000 drone delivery milestone. And coincidentally, Oreo was actually the top item delivered via drones.
How are Walmart drone deliveries conducted, and how do they compare to competitors?
Many of Walmart’s drone deliveries, including the one in the Oreo publicity stunt, are conducted by DroneUp, which was founded in 2016 and is headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
DroneUp started working with Walmart in 2021, though Walmart is working with other drone delivery companies too (Walmart also invested an undisclosed sum of money in the company at that time). Before DroneUp, Walmart launched a partnership with Flytrex in 2020. And in 2022, Walmart launched a new partnership with Zipline, which is largely considered the largest drone delivery provider out there. Under the Zipline partnership with Walmart, customer in Pea Ridge can get select health and wellness and consumable items from Zipline’s fixed-wing drones.
Despite all that growth, things haven’t been entirely rosy for the drone delivery world. In May 2023, DroneUp laid off a handful of employees from its team of about 400 employees. Other drone delivery companies met with setbacks have included Amazon’s drone delivery arm, which laid off employees in early 2023.
As of January 2023, 36 Walmart stores in the U.S. had drone delivery hubs either by DroneUp, Flytrex and Zipline, across seven U.S. states.
Walmart could be in a unique position to scale drone deliveries, particularly because its 4,700 Walmart stores are already located within 90% of all U.S. residents. Those stores, which typically have large parking lots, can also double up as warehouses to store products delivered via drone, as well as ‘airports’ to house the drones and handle their takeoff and landings.
A history of the Oreo obsession over drones
While the August 2023 Oreo dunk video is catchy, this is far from the first time Oreo has tried to capitalize on the fascination with drones.
All the way back in 2017, Oreo used drones to conduct a height-defying dunk where drones dropped actually cookies into cups of milk in a sort of beer pong style endeavor (albeit with drones and Oreos rather than hands throwing ping pong balls). Watch that ‘challenge’ here:
And the year prior, Oreo partnered with drone entertainment company Dronisos (which primarily conducts drone light shows) to “dress up” drones like Oreos. The flying cookies danced in shows which were performed at London’s Westfield Shopping Centre in May 2016 for a combined audience of more than 200,000 people.
Oreo has also used drones to film its own promotional videos. For example, it once carved “Oreo” into grass, and it gave audiences an aerial video thanks to a drone video.
The Oreo obsession over drones is certainly real.
And hey, while you’re at it, perhaps you grab some Oreos for yourself. I’m lately intrigued by the Oreo S’mores Cookies. And even though it’s only August, it looks like Oreo’s Pumpkin Spice season is already here.