Rafael spills the beans on the OREO X The Batman campaign.

“I have been able to get involved in projects that are not restricted to my function only. ”Rafael Espesani

Monday, July 25, 2022

What is your current role and what makes it exciting?

I'm the brand lead for OREO in the UK and Ireland. My role is very exciting as it gives me the chance to work with the no. 1 cookie brand in the world, that has been around for over 110 years and has a unique positioning of being playful and bringing people together. The brand allows me to lead some exciting projects and partnerships and bring my creative side to work every day.

What personal qualities or skills make you successful in your position?

There are a few things that I'd say are important in my position. Firstly, you need to be able to balance consumer and business needs. My focus is to deliver what consumers are looking for, but I also need to ensure I'm doing the right decisions for the brand and for the business. Given the volatile environment we are in, it's important to be flexible and adapt plans as and when needed, always keeping in mind what is the right thing to do. Also, being a brand owner also requires you to have a finger on the pulse for the latest trends in terms of products, technology, trends, consumer behaviors, communications, and best practices in the industry to ensure that you are leading the way. Finally, people management is very important, I have a team of brilliant professionals. I need to ensure I'm providing them with the right opportunities to thrive and develop in their roles as well as supporting their career goals.

How has your career developed at MDLZ?

I joined MDLZ back in 2018 as the Senior Brand Manager for Trebor and Hall's, two of our iconic brands part of our Gum & Candy portfolio. I was responsible for the end-to-end management of those brands, from strategy through planning and execution, including brand positioning, communications, activations, and innovation pipeline. In late 2020, I joined our Biscuits & Baked Snacks category to look after OREO, (one of MDLZ global power brands), Barny, Milka and Biscuits Seasonal portfolio.

What kind of project, assignments have you done outside of the traditional career moves that helped you further your career?

I have been able to get involved in projects that are not restricted to my function only. A good example is the work I do representing Mondelez in the Unstereotype Alliance, an industry-led initiative convened by UN Women that unites advertising industry leaders, decision-makers and creatives to end harmful stereotypes in advertising. I'm very passionate about diversity and inclusion, and it's great to have the opportunity to champion this initiative internally. I also get involved with our mentoring programs, both as a coach and coachee, which allows me to connect with different people from different teams and learn new things from exchanging experiences with others.

Tell us about your exciting project with Oreo and Batman?

OREO x The Batman was a global partnership launched earlier in 2022. My job as the OREO brand lead for the UK was to land this activation locally and launch it in style to deliver the best partnership ever done for OREO in the country. We kicked off this campaign by launching a limited-edition product that had The Batman's face embossed on our OREO cookies with a special pack design announcing a competition whereby consumers had the chance to win prizes daily, Once consumer got their hands on the pack, they were able to scan the QR code and embark on a digital experience through our own BatCave, for a chance to win prizes and solve riddles to enjoy exclusive OREO & The Batman content.

The campaign launched across all major social and digital platforms as well as in cinemas with an exciting film showing a suspenseful journey through Gotham and incorporated key imagery from The Batman crafted out of OREO cookies - one of the coolest brand's film ever done. Have a look yourself.

To get people talking, we created several hugely impactful 3D billboards (Out of Home) across 5 different locations in the UK, showing a huge OREO cookie having been sliced with the infamous Batarang. These eye-catching executions were then supported by owned media to make sure even more people were amazed by them. This execution generated a lot of talkability and is now often recognized as best in class marketing activation. More details here!

What's more, we gave people an immersive Bat-experience: OREOpartnered with Digital Cinema Media (DCM) and turned the Rio Cinema in Dalston (East London) into the OREO Cinema to deliver a Gotham City-inspired immersive cinema experience, to coincide with the actual film release. We even created our own OREO ‘Bite-Signal’ projection that shone bright into the London sky. The event was attended by few thousand people across three days, including influencer, OREO lovers, Batman fans and cinema enthusiasts.You can see more details here.

Finally, we partnered up with Warner Bros. and their takeover of the Evening Standard to surprise and delight consumers with an expected replica of The Gotham Gazette. The campaign was live for three months with a multi-million support with several touchpoints making it truly unmissable for consumers. The brand enjoyed impressive results with sales growth, press coverage and consumer love. It has been one of the most fun and rewarding projects in my career. Afterall, it's not every day that you have the chance to work with a superhero...

How do you describe the culture at MDLZ?

The culture at MDLZ is really great as it puts the employee at the heart. There are a lot of things that I really value and that makes MDLZ a great place to work: Firstly, I feel really empowered to find the best arrangement to do my job with clear policies around remote and flexible working that enable me to experience a good work-life balance. Also, people development is important at MDLZ with a lot of tools to help employees to grow. At MDLZ, the career possibilities are endless, including cross-functional moves and internal relocation which really allow employees to design their own career path whilst receiving support from their line manager and the rest of the business.

Finally, MDLZ focus on Diversity and Inclusion is really impressive. MDLZ is committed to foster a friendly and safe environment for every single employee with a series of initiatives available, from educational programs to internal diversity network groups internally and championing DEI in the industry and for consumers through fearless marketing campaigns. I feel really respected and appreciated for who I am and couldn't be happier working for MDLZ.

And finally, what is your favorite MDLZ brand? What kind of (childhood) memories are attached to it?

I know it will not sound very creative but my favourite MDLZ brand has always been OREO. As a marketer, I have always admired it for being a brand with a lot of heritage and amazing campaigns. As a consumer, I just find OREO cookies extremely delicious and tasty. I love OREO cookies on their own but I also love cooking and baking with them, they make everything taste nice! You can't go wrong with OREO.