One Dorito In This Handful Could Melt Your Face

Frito-Lay's 'Roulette' Bags Come to U.S. -- One Out of Six Is Super Spicy

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Advertising Age Player

Brace your taste buds, America -- Doritos is bringing its limited-edition "Roulette" bags to the U.S.

The packages include what appear to be regular nacho cheese flavored chips. But roughly one out of every six chips is super spicy, even though it looks like every other chip. Or as Frito-Lay VP-Senior Director of Marketing Jeff Klein puts it, "melt-your-face" hot.

Odds were good that PepsiCo-owned Frito-Lay would eventually sell the gambling-themed bags stateside after marketing them in several global markets, including Mexico, where they debuted in 2012. When Roulette launched in Canada last year, the publicity spilled south of the border, including in outlets such as Buzzfeed.

"This is a product that has had some real success around the globe," Mr. Klein said. Frito-Lay envisions the company making the product a limited-time offer that comes and goes, like McDonald's McRib sandwich. Bags will appear in U.S. stores for only about 12 weeks. But when measured by distribution, the launch will be the biggest limited edition in the history of Doritos in the U.S., Mr. Klein said.

"I think a lot of people are going to want to do [buy] it once or twice with their friends, but I don't see it as an experience that it sustainable over a 52-week period," Mr. Klein said. "It is something that consumers will look forward to and we'll put a new twist on it every year."

Frito-Lay execs are hopeful that Roulette will do especially well in small bag formats sold at convenience stores and purchased by males around the age of 19. By contrast, the limited-edition is not geared for big family gatherings, like a picnic. "I don't think you want grandma to reach in and grab the wrong chip," Mr. Klein said.

The launch will be supported by a digital campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and The Marketing Arm. A video (above) was created by BBDO, Mexico for the Mexican launch and has been adapted for the U.S. market.

On social media, the brand will drive fans to a microsite where they can win prizes, roulette-style. The catch is that users must tag three friends on social media and enter as a team. At the end of the week, Doritos will pick the winning teams and announce it in a Vine video. For the winning team, three of the members will get good prizes -- like an X-Box One -- but one person will be stuck with a "mystery burn" prize: a dud prize like a piece of cardboard with an "X" on it.

Doritos will also host two live game show-style giveaways using Twitter's new Periscope streaming live-video app. "The viewers that are logged on to watch will be randomly chosen as contestants," Mr. Klein said. A gameshow host will then spin a roulette wheel to determine the prizes.

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