New Pokémon Oreo Promotion Sparks Massive Backlash From Protestors

Pokemon

Oreo manufacturer Mondelez International has announced an unexpected crossover with the Pokémon franchise this morning, which sees existing ‘Mons transformed into cookie form as part of an upcoming promotion.

There are 16 themed Oreo cookies to collect in specially marked cartons, including beloved starters like Pikachu and Piplup and even the legendary Mew. As many were quick to point out, the launch of the promotional cookies coincides with an ongoing union strike among workers that manufacture Oreos and other snacks at Nabisco-owned processing plants across the US.

Originating from the National Biscuit Company’s Chelsea, New York factory in 1912, Oreo is owned by Mondelez International. Mondelez is a multinational company based out of Chicago that formed in 2012 when Kraft Foods, the brand behind the iconic blue boxes of mac and cheese, divided itself into two separate companies: Kraft Foods Group (now a part of Kraft Heinz) and the confectionary focused Mondelez.

The cookies themselves are made by manufacturers around the world, and since 2018, Oreos sold in the US have been produced by Nabsico, a subsidiary of Mondelez. Since August 10, Nabisco employees have been on strike.

The Washington Post reported that workers’ grievances include suspended pensions, precarity from continued outsourcing, and long work hours — all in the face of soaring profits during the pandemic.

Union members have asked consumers for solidarity by targeting the manufacturer’s profits, calling on a boycott of Nabisco-made snacks, including Ritz Crackers, Chips Ahoy!, and Oreo cookies, but the artificial scarcity of the Pokemon-themed Oreos seem poised to pressure consumers to cross the picket line. 

The all too apparent move to break the spirit of solidarity spurred many to amend the announcement with reminders of the ongoing strike.

This isn’t the first time Oreo has been the target of union-backed boycotts. In 2015, labor activists responded to Mondelez’s plans to outsource production from Chicago to Mexico with calls for a boycott. While the company moved forward with 600 layoffs, production of the cookie continued in other US locations.