Doritos, the Super Bowl and a million dollar bet equals a cracking bit of PR

The week before last I found myself writing about Super Bowl marketing hype.

Sadly, the VW ad that was teased so beautifully with the “dogs singing the Star Wars theme” should have taught the (non-PR) agency behind it that great talkability will never pay off when the sizzle turns out to be better than the sausage. In my humble opinion, the final VW spot was pretty weak.

Hey ho.

Refusing to be discouraged, however, I thought I would return to the theme as the topic of this week’s PR Antics.

Doritos (for those who aren’t already aware of their piece of marketing genius) makes an annual bet. It lays down anything up to $1 million every year hoping that someone, somewhere in the US of A will come up with a great advertising idea.

Their annual stake is a 30 second spot during the Big Game and their wager is that a consumer will deliver them a script for their annual “Crash the Super Bowl” challenge that is worthy of the air-time.

For the past six years, Doritos has challenged its fans to make its ad – of which five are shortlisted before consumers vote to select the spot that makes it to TV. There is no ad agency scripting, little in the way of fancy special effects, just a bet that consumers will come up with the goods.

This year, it turns out, it paid off. Here’s the spot:


Now it turns out that, thanks to a spot of Radian 6 analysis, the Brand Bowl report concluded thus:

“According to the 400,000 tweets that Brand Bowl monitored, Doritos was this year’s most effective brand to advertise during the Super Bowl telecast, based on volume of chatter and positive/negative commentary on Twitter as the commercials aired”.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is down to a business – PepsiCo, famed until recently for its blockbuster ads worldwide – that has taken social media, the consumer, the faith that someone will stand out from the crowdsource, to its heart.

If anyone in the PR industry has any great ambition to “get hold of the marketing pot”, “sit at the top table when it comes to marketing decisions,” or “have the ear of the marketing director,” this is the campaign to learn from.

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