Super Bowl

Frito-Lay to Sit Out Super Bowl LI, Ending 10-Year Big-Game Run

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Doritos' 'Sling Baby' spot, a product of its 2012 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest.
Doritos' 'Sling Baby' spot, a product of its 2012 'Crash the Super Bowl' contest. Credit: Frito-Lay

PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division, whose Doritos brand has been a loyal Super Bowl advertiser, is sitting out the game for the first time in 10 years.

The Doritos streak began in 2007, when it ran the first ad in its "Crash the Super Bowl" ad contest. Doritos ended the contest this year after a 10-year run. A Frito-Lay spokesman today confirmed to Ad Age that the division will not try to follow-up Crash with something else in the game, at least not in 2017.

"There are no plans for Frito-Lay brands to advertise during the upcoming Super Bowl as it did not fit with our marketing plans, however, we continue to enjoy a great partnership with the NFL that connects multiple brands within PepsiCo," a Frito-Lay spokesman told Ad Age in an email on Monday.

Before "Crash the Super Bowl," Doritos hadn't appeared in the game since 2001. But Frito-Lay ran ads in 2005 for its Lay's and Tostitos brands. Lay's also ran a 2004 Super Bowl ad.

Frito-Lay parent company PepsiCo will have a Super Bowl presence via Pepsi's sponsorship of the halftime show starring Lady Gaga. Pepsi is using the halftime show to spotlight its Pepsi Zero Sugar variety. The soda brand has not yet confirmed any ad plans beyond the sponsorship.

Frito-Lay's Super Bowl exit creates a void. The snack marketer has not only been a reliable ad buyer, but its Doritos spots scored well with everyday consumers -- as much as professional ad critics might have thumbed their nose at the generally low-brow creative approach. The Doritos brand claimed the top spot in Ace Metrix's ranking of the top five Super Bowl advertisers from 2010-2016. The brand's average Ace score of 609 bested Coke (600), Pepsi (598), Jeep (587), Kia (584) and Volkswagen (584).

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