Frito-Lay's Doritos sets agency shootout

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Frito-Lay, in search of a blockbuster advertising idea for its Doritos brand, is pitting incumbent BBDO Worldwide against sister agency DDB Needham Worldwide in a shootout for the $40 million account.

"Doritos is a top priority for Frito-Lay in '97, and we want to make certain we get the best thinking from our Omnicom partner," said a Frito-Lay spokeswoman, a reference to Omnicom Group's ownership of both shops.

PRESENTATIONS JAN. 29 The shops are set to present ideas for the brand on Jan. 29. DDB Needham will use both its New York and Chicago offices, and executives are discussing using the newly created Spike/DDB joint venture with director Spike Lee for some creative.

Executives at DDB Needham and BBDO declined to comment.

The winner will walk away with the base brand and new products. The company spokeswoman denied the account was in review, calling this week's action a "presentation," and said it is driven by the fact that it will be a "big year" for the brand.

Frito-Lay has global ambitions for Doritos, and is said to be eyeing product extensions this year, possibly including the rollout of tubular shaped Doritos 3-Ds.

DDB Needham currently handles Fritos, Rold Gold and Cheetos. BBDO's other Frito accounts include Lay's potato chips, Ruffles, Sunchips and Tostitos.

Earlier this year, the company rolled out Reduced-Fat Doritos but hasn't approached the success of previous winner Baked Lay's. Reduced-Fat Doritos received only $11 million in measured media spending for the first nine months of 1996, according to Competitive Media Reporting, compared with $21.4 million for Baked Lay's.

$14.7 MIL SUPPORTS Regular Doritos was supported with $14.7 million during that time.

According to PaineWebber analyst Manny Goldman, sales of Doritos were up 12% during November and, with Tostitos, accounted for nearly 20% of Frito's sales in large-volume outlets.

Contributing: Mark Gleason.

Copyright January 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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