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    on February 28, 2020 Consumer Psychology

    How scarcity marketing drove hype around Supreme Oreos

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    This is a story of how a rising tide lifts all ships. Two entities coming together for mutual benefit. A type of collaboration that offers a little bit of something for both parties involved.

    The popular cookie sandwich, Oreo, and the New York retail brand, Supreme, teamed up to create hype around both. This relationship may seem unexpected. Random, even. But that might be part of the appeal.

    While Oreo is one of the best selling and mainstream cookie brands in the country, the opportunity to partner with a brand like Supreme offers a unique opportunity to tap into consumer psychology elements that Oreo doesn’t have access to on their own. 

    “[O]ver the past 20 years, Supreme has transitioned from a small skateboarding store in New York to a $1 billion streetwear company,” according to a video on Business Insider. “But for its fans, Supreme is more than just a brand. It's often an obsession and an entire subculture of its own.”

    The brands started dropping hints about the collaboration on February 17 with tweets that didn’t specify the exact time of the limited product’s release.

    By the time Supreme Oreos actually hit Supreme stores on February 20, the cookies had already been listed for thousands of dollars on third-party websites.

    This drew a certain amount of media attention when the product was released, playing into the hype. Headlines ranged from: “Supreme Oreos are selling on eBay for over $10,000” on CBS News to “A 3-Pack Of Supreme Oreos Is Going For $92,000 On EBay” by Forbes.

    The excitement around the limited product, selling for $8 in stores, drove the product to sell out pretty quickly. But this came as no shock to those familiar with Supreme since the company has mastered the art of scarcity marketing. 

    “The items are also purposefully difficult to get ahold of, and their products are kept in high demand by very limited releases,” according to the video on Business Insider

    “Tuesday at 11:00 a.m., you go to the Supreme website, you enter your basic information: your name, email, phone number, and credit-card number,” Chris Magnaye said in the video. “Then, they'll send you a text later in the day to let you know if you've been selected to stand in line. Then on Wednesday, they'll send you a text telling you the time and store to report to. And on Thursday, you go to the store at the time that you're given.”

    This type of marketing strategy really leans on consumer psychology to do the heavy lifting. Once one person has the product, the person next to them wants that product, which is the definition of social proof. A consumer’s fear of missing out is then created. And because the products are believed to be scarce, it produces an anxiety within the brain that can be traced back to the earliest days of mankind. This creates an environment where competition is created among people who want the product.

    And Supreme is reaping the benefits of not just Oreo wanting in -- but countless others.

    “The brand also teamed up with brands including Ziploc, Speedo, Nalgene and Mac Tools for its new line,” according to CBS News.

    This is just the latest example of how two brands can come together to create a buzz, ultimately benefiting both.

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    Andrea Gonzales-Paul

    Andrea Gonzales-Paul is a brand journalist at Quikly. Her background is in storytelling, specifically working in TV news and documentary filmmaking.