Frito-Lay’s latest ad star is Nelly—promoting Lay’s Flamin’ Hot, naturally
Nelly starring in a new spot for the Flamin’ Hot variety of Lay’s is the latest in a series of “what took them so long?” musical ads from Frito-Lay.
The singer tells Ad Age that he’s a true fan of the chips. In a video interview (above), he also says he “didn’t know how to dance” until appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” last year. (He and partner Daniella Karagach came in third)
Nelly’s 2002 hit “Hot In Herre” is given new lyrics in a 15-second spot. A woman is singing the tune while she dances in her kitchen eating from a bag of Lay’s Flamin’ Hot potato chips. This being a chip ad, the lyrics get an overhaul. She sings “it’s gettin’ hot in herre,” then continues, “these chips are Flamin’ Hot” rather than “so take off all your clothes.” She steps onto her balcony, and Nelly catches her mid-song.
Nelly tells Ad Age that he is a true fan of the chips, which just got a flavor update.
The campaign, from Frito-Lay's internal creative agency, is set to appear on broadcast and digital, along with packaging that announces a hotter flavor update, social media and in-store marketing materials. The new version has “an increased, optimized heat” with a cheese base rather than a barbecue one “as a result of existing consumer preference,” according to Frito-Lay.
The Lay's campaign is the latest marketing move for Nelly, who last year appeared on special Budweiser cans and in 2013 was in spots for Honey Nut Cheerios.
He's not the only singer with ties to Frito-Lay. Rick Astley is currently promoting Frito-Lay’s better-for-you snacks, such as Smartfood popcorn and Baked Lay’s, in ads featuring references to Rickrolling and with the tagline “snack a little smarter.” In one spot, he catches a woman singing “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Plus, PepsiCo sibling brand Pepsi just released a spot teasing its Super Bowl halftime show featuring The Weeknd, in which everyday people sing his hit “Blinding Lights,” and the singer spots one in the act.
Speaking of the Super Bowl, no word yet on whether Frito-Lay will participate, and, if so, whether music will be involved. But it has done musical ads in the recent past. In 2020, MC Hammer starred in a Super Bowl spot for Cheetos popcorn with a “U Can’t Touch This” premise.
Lil Nas X appeared alongside Sam Elliott in its Cool Ranch Doritos spot in the 2020 Super Bowl, which also featured a brief appearance by Billy Ray Cyrus.
In 2019, Chance the Rapper appeared alongside the Backstreet Boys in a Super Bowl spot that updated the boy band’s “I Want it That Way” to sell Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos. And in 2018, Busta Rhymes appeared with Peter Dinklage in the first half of a two-part, 60-second Super Bowl spot that promoted Doritos Blaze chips. The latter half showed Morgan Freeman channeling the voice of Missy Elliott to promote Mtn Dew Ice.
Video produced by Max Sternlicht