Doritos Brand Hack

Joseph Phelan, Worker Justice Fellow

January 2015--When I went to my Dad’s house recently there was a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos on top of the fridge. Not one to turn down the gracious offerings of any host I ate most of the bag, licking the magical MSG dust off my fingers between each handful. My once youthful lust for Doritos – scarfing down bags of them with friends while watching VHS tapes rented from Blockbuster – was reignited. That was until I saw theSumofUs.org brand hack ad targeting Doritos parent company PepsiCo for their over usage of palm oil.

Check it out: 

While the facts of the situation are compelling - palm oil suppliers are destroying rainforests in South Asia, putting animal species at risk of extinction, and creating terrible working conditions for adults and children - the smarty pants at SumofUs.org decided to trade in story and emotion, not just facts. This decision seems to have worked, the video has had over 10 million views across multiple platforms since it was released less than two weeks on ago. These views, and the spreading of such a compelling story, has gotten the attention of PepsiCo forcing them to respond to the criticisms raised by SumofUs.org and their members. 

Of course story alone will not bring you victory, it is story + strategy that leads to wining. According to BrandingMagazine SumofUs.org were super smart here too:

Their strategy was cleverly planned as the controversial video, produced by the Motion Picture Company, launched simultaneously with the announcement of the Top 10 finalists of Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl” user-generated ad contest. The next step, was to target Doritos fans and customers via Facebook and Google followed by the placement of the same ad on buses in UK, all taking part in what they declare it a “five-figure ad buy.” All of this resulted in “Cheesy Love Story” gaining six times more hits on YouTube than front runners in the “Crash the Super Bowl Contest”.

I am excited to see how this campaign shakes out, and to see what the story smarties at SumofUs.org do next. Until then I guess I will just eat some Crackerjacks.