This article was first published in the November edition of  Media Pulse – Omnicom Media Group’s monthly highlights on relevant media insights, intelligence and trends.
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Is small the new big? Oreo thinks so. The 102-year-old brand recently launched an innovative campaign surrounding its Mini Oreos offshoot paying homage to the many great small towns. Complete with rhyming Suess-esque video and Pinterest-worthy special deliveries the “Mel’s Mini Mini Mart” campaign has proved a big hit.

Taking aim at the smallest town in each American state, Oreo’s clever spot hypes the benefit of being “mini” and follows up by mailing each household in said towns a singular mini Oreo. One cookie, the size of a quarter, all wrapped up in an adorable little box. Up to 500 people per day can also log on to a special Mini Delivery website to have a mini sent to their own home, too, at whichever small or large town they live in. The reception has ranged from incredulous (“Why in the world they would ship out one cookie is beyond me.”) to thrilled (“Thanks @Oreo for the cutest mail I’ve ever received!”) but parent company Mondelez is capitalizing on the efforts to increase sales for after a lackluster beginning of the year.

Small-scale campaigns like this one—hyper-local, relatively inexpensive—are the newest playground for marketers looking to create lasting impacts at a consumer level. And it’s a global phenomenon. Consider Nescafé, subject of a recent “case study” by Croatian advertising firm Drap. Tapping into the social fervency surrounding the bright red Nescafé mug, the firm literally bike locked 1,000 of the coffee cups to public structures in Zagreb and Split. Locals used a custom Facebook app to get the code, unlock their mug, and then visit nearby kiosks for some hot Nescafé. Did the brand gain five billion new followers and loads of TV air time? No, but it did make a cost efficient investment on a thousand highly-personal impressions in a coffee-centric part of the world. Money well spent, we’d say. Also in the UK, retailer Jolly’s, is celebrating with their locals—in Cambridge and Bath specifically—by reversing the class tale of Cinderella. If you find the “Lost” shoes featured in their campaign, you get to own them. Sounds like happily ever after for marketer and consumer alike.

Another great example of this structured guerilla marketing took place over the summer on the beaches of Tel Aviv. Nothing goes together quite like eating ice cream at the beach which is why Israeli ice cream juggernaut Strauss chose the location for its campaign. Burying dozens of temperature-controlled treasure chests filled with ice cream around the beach meant some seriously excited children had the pleasure of digging them up. The kids were left with lasting, sugar-filled memories of a Strauss Ice Cream at the beach and parents were happy for the activity. It was a small idea that made a pretty big impact on the formative minds of future ice cream buyers and boosted sales for the season.

Truly targeted campaigns like these serve two purposes for brands. They encourage on-the-spot engagement with the brand itself, preferably in a happy, safe place. They also serve as viral content for brands’ social presences. For a company like Oreo that has over 38 million Facebook likes, that’s no small feat. Consumers read these campaigns as generous, personalized, and unobtrusive which are not adjectives typically used to describe advertising material these days where geo-targeting can find you anywhere. Millennials in particular don’t mind being “sold” to as long as they’re not being manipulated which is why the upfront and authentic (now there’s a word we’re hearing a lot lately) nature of these spots makes so much sense.

The trick to these kinds of campaigns is the follow through, the real engagement. It’s not enough for marketers to have a good idea, they’ve got to execute the push correctly in an intentional way. That can be a struggle for big brands, particularly when marketing to hard-to-reach localized segments who are sensitive to being advertised to. That being said, smaller, more focused campaigns are one of advertising’s bright spots and the future’s looking up.