PepsiCo is fighting back against a parody Doritos ad that accuses the marketer of killing rain forests as a result of its palm oil policies.
The digital video (above), by a global advocacy group called SumOfUs, was released on Jan. 13 and has already amassed more than 830,000 views on Youtube. The spot was timed to coincide with Doritos announcement of the top 10 finalists for the PepsiCo-owned brand's "Crash the Super Bowl" user-generated ad contest.
SumOfUs is also running ads on buses in the U.K. as part of what it says is a "five-figure ad buy." The digital video is part of an "international ad buy that will air online in the lead up to the Super Bowl and target Doritos customers on Facebook and Google," the organization stated. The video was directed and produced by Motion Picture Company, which specializes in creating videos for NGOs.
"Rain forests across Southeast Asia are destroyed every day to make way for massive palm oil plantations," Kaytee Riek, campaigns director for SumOfUs, said in a statement. "Given the high profile nature of the Doritos Super Bowl campaign, we're using the opportunity to educate consumers around the world about PepsiCo's irresponsible palm oil sourcing policy."
PepsiCo has responded by accusing SumOfUs of lying about the food and beverage marketer's palm oil policies.
"SumofUs' continual mischaracterizations of our palm oil commitments are patently false and run counter to the positive reception our policies have received from expert organizations in this arena," the company said in a statement. "PepsiCo has repeatedly stated that we are absolutely committed to 100% sustainable palm oil in 2015 and to zero deforestation in our activities and sourcing. This latest public relations stunt, focused on fiction rather than facts, does nothing to foster positive dialogue or affect positive change. We find our policies effective and stand by them."
In response to that statement, SumOfUs is distributing a letter that a coalition of environmental groups -- including Greenpeace and Union of Concerned Scientists -- sent PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi last July.
The letter states that the groups are "encouraged by PepsiCo's recent adoption" of policies involving forestry stewardship and palm oil. But the group added that "it is our view that a number of clarifications to strengthen these policies and associated implementation plans are still needed to ensure that PepsiCo's impact and capacity to drive much-needed changes in its global supply chains is realized."
The ad comes within days of Doritos being targeted by another parody campaign by Newcastle Brown Ale that has a much-lighter tone and an entirely different goal. That campaign, by Droga5, spoofs the "Crash" ad contest in an effort to mock pricey Super Bowl ads and win media attention for the Heineken-owned brand.
The Newcastle spot, which was posted on Jan. 7, has so far drawn more than 113,000 Youtube views.
The leading Doritos contest ad, called "Baby's First Word," has drawn more than 189,000 views. Combined, the 10 "Crash" finalist ads have drawn more than 1.6 million views since the brand announced them on Jan. 5.