Super Bowl

Doritos Comes Back to the Super Bowl After One-Year Break

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'Baby's First Word,' a Doritos contest entry that made it into the 2015 Super Bowl.
'Baby's First Word,' a Doritos contest entry that made it into the 2015 Super Bowl.

Doritos is coming back to the Super Bowl, but its "Crash the Super Bowl" effort won't be. The crowdsourced ad program ended a 10-year run in 2016, and Doritos sat out the 2017 game.

A Frito-Lay spokeswoman confirms Doritos will return in the 2018 game with a spot by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. The commercial will not be crowdsourced like the "Crash" ads were, she says, declining to elaborate on creative details. While Doritos did not run a dedicated 2017 Super Bowl spot, it had a cameo in a 10-second Amazon Echo spot called "Finger Lick."

Doritos' "Crash" contest debuted for the 2007 game and grew into a Super Bowl advertising mainstay. The winning ads typically relied on lowbrow devices, like pet tricks, but the spots reliably scored well on ad-ranking services like USA Today's Ad Meter. The program was credited with legitimizing consumer-created content, which later became a standard marketing play in the age of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

When Frito-Lay North America pulled the plug on "Crash the Super Bowl" in 2016, then-CMO Ram Krishnan indicated it had outlived its usefulness. By turning over its Super Bowl ad to amateurs in the contest's early years, Doritos was providing a "stage for the consumers to shine," Krishnan told Ad Age in a 2016 interview. But Gen Z today is "not waiting to be discovered," he said. "They themselves are earning success by putting out their own YouTube channel and creating content for that. The role of the brand and the value that we add with this consumer has changed."

Frito-Lay, which is owned by NFL sponsor PepsiCo, is looking to surround the 2018 game with a range of programs touting its snack brands beyond the Doritos TV spot. Tostitos, which earlier this year debuted NFL team-themed packaging, is planning a digital program that "will feature an homage to some of the best known Super Bowl memes and tropes that people can use and personalize for their Super Bowl party," according to the Frito-Lay spokeswoman.

Cheetos, meanwhile, plans to play up its new campaign that stars NFL player Vernon Davis touting curling. The idea is to use the nation's most popular sport, football, to rally support for curling, which struggles with awareness. But Doritos is the only Frito-Lay brand getting an in-game ad buy, according to the company.

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