Doritos Marketing Part 2: Creator Partnerships, Gaming Integrations, Experiential and Media

Posted on by Kaylee Hultgren

The global “Doritos Silent” campaign brought “crunch-cancelling” technology to PC gamers so that they could still snack and play.

In a recent chat with Doritos’ Global Head of Marketing Fernando Kahane, we explored the ideation, development and campaign distribution across its new international brand platform, “For the Bold in Everyone.” Below is part two of our conversation, in which Kahane reflects on influencer and creator partnerships, gaming integrations, experiential marketing and balancing the brand’s media mix.

Chief Marketer: Does the new brand platform accommodate more creators? Are there collaborations happening in the future?

FK: We’re starting to build some long-term partnerships. It’s led by the markets, and here is where they get full autonomy. We provide guidelines on the stories… and for the brand positioning. But it’s completely locally-led. You’re going to see more content coming not only from the brand… but also entertaining advertising from creators.

CM: This is a trend in marketing in general. How has working with creators to tell their stories impacted your work, and the industry overall?

FK: I think we’re all trying to learn how to do it, because that really changed the rules of the game, in terms of how you test, how you choose the influencers and be sure that you are making the right choices—not only for your brand, but also because there is an impact on people. They carry a lot of authenticity and trust. So that’s something that we are very carefully considering and discussing. We want to make sure that we partner with people who share the same values as the brand.

CM: Shifting gears a bit… What is the brand’s global strategy for experiential marketing?

FK: Gaming is a big passion point for Doritos. We launched or crunch-cancelling activation in 10-plus markets as a pilot that we’re going to extend next year. Gamers normally play with their friends through their headsets. When you think about market share of Doritos for gamers, we are the number one snack. But what happens is that when they’re playing, they stop eating. And why do they stop eating? Because the crunch of Doritos gets in the way of their play. So, we created silent—or crunch-cancellation—AI technology. We recorded more than 5,000 crunch sounds [for the] artificial intelligence model. So, then you could eat Doritos and still talk, but you don’t hear the crunch. We pretended we were launching a real product called “Doritos Silent.” There was a huge, disruptive billboard in London and a lot of positive coverage and reach.

We are leaning toward thinking more about experience not as just doing an event, but [instead], how can we create true technology, and software for programs, that can enhance the experience that people have for our products? Here, it’s the case of solving a pain point for gamers, which is a key cohort of Doritos—keeping the same crunch, but significantly improving the experience that they have with the product. It’s an innovation without having to change the product at all. We’re going to be thinking more about that, how technology can help to drive experiences and make the brand more relevant in some key moments—gaming being one of them.

CM: What marketing channels is the brand investing in this year?

FK: It’s the conundrum: How do we balance TV reach with digital channel relevance, with the fragmentation of media? That’s the key challenge… TV has a role in a lot of different markets because of the high reach, but digital is growing in relevance. And in some markets we are completely changing the investment from TV to digital, like 90%. Some markets more are more 50/50, depending on the penetration and the cost per reach. It’s flexible, but the macro trend is that digital will grow.

But it’s not just about the channel; it’s about the content. The investment is going to be connected with the way we engage with our consumers. We’ve changed from the brand just putting content out there to the brand fostering content everywhere. And that will have an impact on creative, but also on media selection and the percentage of what is digital and not digital, and the different touch points.

On top of that, we’re discussing providing more experiences that make the brand more relevant and meaningful. The gaming one is a very clear example of that. It’s not a traditional advertising campaign; it is a way of reaching consumers in a much more engaging way. Experiential technology will be a big part of investments moving forward in terms of how we build the brand.


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