The end of a salty snack commercial era

The end of a salty snack commercial era

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April 21 - Snacks and Super Bowl go together like … well … actually it’s pretty much impossible to make a better pairing then that. According to IRI, Americans spent an extra $1.5 billion in snacks and $767 million on candy in the two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIX in 2015. Of course, salty snacks like chips, pretzels, and popcorn are a key component of those snacks. In the week leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, $437.7 million was spent on snacks, up 14% from the previous week. The only thing that could make the snack/game combination better is to add commercials about snacks during the Super Bowl. Now you are also watching about eating what you are eating while watching the game.

Skittles, Snickers, Butterfingers… there are all kinds of commercials for the sweeter side of snacks during the game. But for the last decade, if you have been talking salty snack commercials, then you have been talking about the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl contest. First developed for Super Bowl XLI in 2007, the contest was the first one to use a crowd-sourced commercial during the game, which managed to grab the #4 spot on the USA Today Ad Meter poll. Fast forward nearly a decade and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay once again ran its famous contest for Super Bowl 50 in 2016, resulting in two different Doritos commercials airing in the first and third quarters of the game.

The “Doritos Dogs” commercial featured a bunch of lovable canines trying to sneak into a grocery store to get the display of Doritos seen through the front window. Despite the “Doritos Dogs” commercial winning the voting in the contest, it is one of the other finalists that has ended up being a more popular ad. The Doritos “Ultrasound” commercial, featuring a woman having an ultrasound and the father realizing that the baby in the womb was following the movement of the Doritos he was eating, ended up taking third place in USA Today’s Ad Meter rankings of Super Bowl ads for Super Bowl 50, with “Doritos Dogs” placing just below in fourth place.

However, this is the last year for the contest. In an interview on Fortune Live, chief marketing officer of Frito-Lay North America Ram Krishnan speaks to the brands marketing evolving with its target audience. “If you look at when we started the program, Millennial consumers were the target. Well, now 80% of childbirth happening in this country is to Millennials. They’ve grown up. So now our Doritos target is the Gen Z consumers, and they are already content creators.”

Sadly, die-hard Doritos snacking/football watching/budding film producers will now have to find a new outlet for their creativity. That being said, you can pretty much bet on Frito-Lay still entertaining the snacking, football watching fans with commercials of some type during Super Bowl LI.

--Norman Deschamps