Lil Nas X challenges Sam Elliott to a dance battle in Doritos' Super Bowl ad
Who’d be your pick in a dance battle between Grammy-winning rapper Lil Nas X and Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliott? And why is that even a question?
The duo’s duel at the Cool Ranch is the premise of the latest Doritos Super Bowl commercial, which hypes its updated Cool Ranch flavor.
The spot, by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, features a dance-off between the two men. Even viewers who have watched both teasers—a Sam Elliott spoken-word rendition of Lil Nas X’s hit “Old Town Road” and a scene of the singer heading into town on a horse fitted with speakers—aren’t exactly sure why they are ready for a dance-contest. Perhaps this whole thing is over the bag of chips off to the side? Sure. But this is a Super Bowl spot. The plot doesn’t matter. (The chips, by the way, have a little more seasoning, but feature the same unmistakable Cool Ranch flavor that Doritos fans have known for years.)
The moves offered by Lil Nas X, at first seem like they would be tough for Elliott to match. Then Elliott's signature mustache struts its stuff. And we are here to witness it.
Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" collaborator Billy Ray Cyrus makes a quick cameo, but the ad is more about the dance-off than him—or the chips, for that matter.
Doritos is getting 60 seconds of airtime during the game’s third quarter. With "such an incredible story to tell," the spot deserved the full treatment, according to Rachel Ferdinando, senior VP and chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America.
By comparison, the other PepsiCo spots in the game, and there are plenty—Cheetos, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Mtn Dew Zero Sugar, SodaStream and Sabra (PepsiCo owns 50 percent of the hummus company)—get 30 seconds apiece.
When the action is over, Lil Nas X asks, "Who got next?" Perhaps it will be viewers? People can use the Sway app to scan their bodies, which will be augmented with the profile of a professional dancer, allowing them to recreate the dance moves from the ad. The brand hopes people share their footage with the hashtag #CoolRanchDance, which appears on the screen near the end of the spot. The brand is also encouraging recreations on TikTok.
Read our interview with Sam Elliott on the making of the Doritos commercial and working alongside Lil Nas X.