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2009 PRO Awards: Doritos The Quest

By Aug 04, 2009

Agency: The Marketing Arm
Client: Frito-Lay/Doritos

Doritos was once the number one chip, but competition had increased consumers’ expectations for more and over the last four years, their market share declined. Research showed that their target group, age 16-24, indexed high against alternate reality games, so Doritos conceived a game for its new campaign.

First, they generated an air of mystery and excitement by creating a secret new flavor. The chip was encased in black metallic bags. A printed message said, “Guessing the flavor is only the beginning.” Underneath was printed the URL doritosthequest.com.

Before the new flavor hit stores, a generic teaser site (trianglemystery.com) was launched where consumers could enter their email address and “wait to be told” as they watched a clock count down to zero. There was no mention of Doritos. The aura of mystery incited a heavy blog response as people wondered what it was all about and who was behind it.

Doritos then created a game called The Quest. The homepage provided puzzles and challenges, including tasting the new chip and guessing the flavor. Online communities developed around the world as people tried to solve the puzzles. Clues were built into the packages and store displays.

The first three consumers to solve the final puzzle were sent to a secret city (Las Vegas) to compete in a series of challenges for the “golden artifact”, worth $100,000, and be filmed in several online webisodes.

The competition reached 70,000 active players and more than 6 million minutes were logged. Ultimately, sales increased 200% over the previous year. Meanwhile, the entire product line benefited from a halo affect, increasing 150% in sales overall.