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Tweet of the Week

Dessert: A New Marketing Channel?

November 7, 2021
November 9, 2021
Mae Rice

Fortune cookie ads might feel like proof marketing has (finally!) gone too far. But this type of spon inside fortune cookies has actually been around for decades.

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This week was our first time seeing ads on fortune cookie fortunes — and we weren’t alone.

A now-private tweet about the ad above prompted a lot of responses like “Marketers have gone too far this time!” (But with more cursing.) 

Here’s the thing: This isn’t new!

A brief history of fortune cookie ads

  • 1968: Robert F. Kennedy used fortunes to promote his presidential campaign and foretell his victory. Our favorite? “Millions will love you. Vote KENNEDY.”
  • 2010: OpenFortune, a platform dedicated to placing ads in fortune cookies, is founded
  • 2013: A Manhattan City Council candidate promotes his campaign via cookie, collabing with two Chinese restaurants in his district.
  • 2018: A photo of a fortune cookie ad from Capital One (and OpenFortune) gets 1.7K RTs. Caption: “Ad blockers ain’t got nothing on the nyc take out market.”
  • 2021: Extra and OpenFortune run the first fortune cookie ad we’ve seen with a QR code. 

Our takeaway?

Fortune cookie ads are a marketing rarity: a long-standing channel that still gets social traction for existing. According to OpenFortune, 5.9% of recipients share their fortunes on social.

Those shares can veer negative, though.

 “NOTHING IS BEAUTIFUL NOR INNOCENT ANYMORE,” one recipient tweeted about promotional fortune. Caps hers!

Mae Rice
about the author

Mae Rice is editor in chief at MarketerHire. A long-time content marketer, she loves learning about the weird and wonderful feedback loops that connect marketing and culture.

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