BOCA RATON, FLA. — The Oreo brand, first introduced in 1912, continues to put up sales growth in its second century. Mondelez International, Inc. expects growth to continue through licensing, geographic expansion and a “playful” marketing approach.

“These days, brands need to stand for something,” said Dirk Van de Put, chief executive officer, Feb. 18 at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference in Boca Raton. “They need to have a purpose to really connect with consumers. So for example, Cadbury’s purpose is generosity, and Oreo’s is staying playful.”

Mondelez brands are moving into other categories besides their primary ones, he added, giving the example of Oreo being in ice cream, frozen desserts, yogurt, chilled snacks and cereal.

“Our licensing business grew double-digit in 2019 from a combination of royalties and ingredient sales,” Mr. Van de Put said.

The Oreo brand surpassed $3 billion in net revenue in 2019.

“In the U.S., the No. 1 Oreo market, we activated the brand strongly by keeping it contemporary through high-impact events, like our ‘Game of Thrones’ partnership, and in China, the No. 2 Oreo market, we continue to increase the local relevance of the brand through unique activations like the iconic Forbidden City Oreos,” Mr. Van de Put said.

Plans for Oreo are in place for 2020.

“We will strengthen the core by communicating the brand’s playful purpose through on-target activations, like the Oreo Music Box,” he said. “We’ll attract new consumers by entering new segments, like the more permissible thins platform or the more indulgent enrobed Oreos platform. We also intend to grow Oreo strongly beyond U.S. and China as well as increase the brand’s reach through licensing. While Oreo is already the world’s cookie, we have a huge opportunity to grow it further without reinventing the wheel.”

While Oreo remains a powerhouse among Mondelez snacking brands, premium and well-being are areas of growth in the segment, he said.

“Perfect Snacks and Tate’s are good examples of recent acquisitions in these spaces, both growing at strong double-digits,” Mr. Van de Put said.

Mondelez International, Deerfield, Ill., in 2018 acquired Tate’s Bake Shop, which makes thin, crispy cookies and other baked foods. Then in June 2019, Mondelez acquired a majority interest in Perfect Snacks.